Skip to main content

Full text of "Portraits of curious characters in London, &c. &c. : with descriptive and entertaining anecdotes"

See other formats







LONDON,  $c.  $c. 


4  There's  none  but  has  some  fault ;  and  he's  the  best, 
(  Most  perfect  he,  who's  spotted  with  the  least." 





Known  ly  the  Name  of  Dirty  Dick, 
Late  a  Hardware  Merchant,  in  Leadenhall-street. 

MR.  BENTLEY  resided   at   the  corner  of  the 
avenue  leading  to  the  house  formerly  the  Old 

Nathaniel  Bentley.  3 

Crown  Tavern,  Leadenhall-street,  not  far  from 
the  East-India  House. 

The  house  and  character  of  this  eccentric  in- 
dividual are  so  well  described  in  a  poem  pub- 
lished in  the  European  Magazine,  for  January 
1801,  that  we  shall  transcribe  it: 

"  Who  but  has  seen  (if  he  can  see  at  all) 
'Tvvixl  Aldgate's  well-known  pump  and  LeaderihalJ, 
A  curious  hard-ware  shop,  in  general  full 
Of  wares,  from  Birmingham  and  Pontipool  ? 
Begrim'd  with  dirt,  behold  its  ample  front, 
With  thirty  years  collected  filth  upon't. 
See  festoon'd  cobwebs  pendent  o'er  the  door, 
While  boxes,  bales,  and  trunks,  are  strew'd  around  the 

"  Behold  how  whistling  winds  and  driving  rain 
Gain  free  admission  at  each  broken  pain, 
Save  where  the  dingy  tenant  keeps  them  out 
\Vith  urn  or  tray,  knife-case,  or  dirty  clout! 
Here  snuffers,  waiters,  patent  screws  for  corks; 
There  castors,  card-racks,  cheese-trays,  knives  and  forks: 
Here  empty  cases  pil'd  in  heaps  on  high  ; 
There  pack-thread,  papers,  rope,  in  wild  disorder  lie. 

"  O  say,  thou  enemy  to  soap  and  towels ! 
Hast  no  compassion  lurking  in  thy  bowels? 
Think  what  thy  neighbours  suffer  by  thy  whim 
Of  keeping  self  and  house  in  such  a  trim  ! 
The  officers  of  health  should  view  the  scene, 
And  put  thy  shop  and  thee  in  quarantine. 
Consider  thou,  in  summer's  ardent  heat, 
When  various  means  are  tried  to  cool  the  street. 
What  must  each  decent,  neighbour  suffer  then 
From  various  vapours  issuing  from  thy  den. 

**  When  fell  Disease,  with  all  her  horrid  train, 
Spreads  her  dark  pinions  o'er  ill  fated  Spain, 

A  2 

4  Nathaniel  Bentley. 

That  Britain  may  not  witness  such  a  scene, 
Behoves  us  doubly  now  to  keep  our  dwellings  clean. 

«;  Say,  if,  within  the  street  where  thou  dost  dwell, 
Each  house  were  kept  exactly  like  thy  cell ; 
O,  say,  thou  enemy  to  brooms  and  mops! 
How  long  thy  neighbours  could  keep  open  shops. 
If,  following  thee  in  taste,  each  wretched  elf, 
Unshav'd,  unwash'd,  and  squalid  like  thyself, 
Resolv'd  to  live  ? — The  answer's  very  plain, 
One  year  would  be  the  utmost  of  their  reign: 
Victims  to  filth,  each  vot'ry  soon  would  fall, 
And  one  grand  jail-distemper  kill  them  all. 

"  Persons  there  are,  who  say  thou  hast  been  seen 
(Some  years  ago)  with  hands  and  face  wash'd  clean; 
And,  wouldst  thou  quit  this  most  unseemly  plan, 
Thou  art  ('tis  said)  a  very  comely  man : 
Of  polish'd  language,  partial  to  the  fair, 
Then  why  not  wash  thy  face  and  comb  thy  matted  hair? 
Clear  from  thy  house  accumulated  dirt, 
New  paint  the  front,  and  wear  a  cleaner  shirt." 

Many  are  the  reports  concerning  his  civility, 
and  polite  manner  of  attending  to  the  ladies 
•whenever  they  have  honoured  him  with  their 
commands ;  and  several  curious  persons  have 
come  to  town  from  various  parts  of  the  country, 
on  purpose  to  see  so  remarkable  a  figure. 

Before  the  powder-tax  was  introduced,  Na- 
thaniel frequently  paid  a  shilling  for  dressing 
that  head,  which  of  late  years  he  scarcely 
seemed  to  think  worthy  of  a  comb !  He  mends 
his  own  clothes  and  washes  his  own  linen,  which 
he  proudly  acknowledges.  His  answer  to  a  gen- 
tleman who  wished  to  convert  him  to  cleanli- 
ness, was,  "  It  is  of  no  use,  Sir ;  if  I  wash  my 

Nathaniel  Bentley.  5 

hands  to-day,  they  will  be  dirty  again  to-mor- 
row." On  being  asked  whether  he  kept  a  dog 
or  cat  to  destroy  rats,  mice,  &c.  he  replied, 
"  No,  Sir,  they  only  make  more  dirt,  and  spoil 
more  goods  than  any  service  they  are  of;  but  as 
to  rats  and  mice,  how  can  they  live  in  my  house, 
when  I  take  care  to  leave  them  nothing  to  eat?" 
If  asked  why  he  does  not  take  down  his  shutters 
which  have  been  so  long  up,  or  why  he  does  not 
put  his  goods  in  proper  order,  his  answer  is, 
"  he  has  been  long  thinking  of  it,  but  he  has  not 

With  all  Nathaniel  Bentley 's  eccentricities,  it 
must  be  acknowledged,  he  is  both  intelligent 
and  polite :  like  a  diamond  begrimed  with  dirt, 
which,  though  it  may  easily  conceal  its  lustre 
in  such  a  state,  can  easily  recover  its  original 
polish — not  a  diamond  indeed  of  the  first  water 
— not  a  rough  diamond — but  an  unwashed  dia- 

In  his  beauish  days,  his  favourite  suit  was  blue 
and  silver,  with  his  hair  dressed  in  the  extremity 
of  fashion;  but  now — strange  fancy — his  hair 
frequently  stands  up  like  the  quills  of  the  por- 
cupine, and  generally  attended  in  his  late  shop 
without  a  coat,  while  his  waistcoat,  breeches, 
shirt,  face,  and  hands,  corresponded  with  the 
dirt  of  his  warehouse. 


Contrast  to  the  Character  last  mentioned. 

THOSE  who  are  in  the  practice  of  walking  the 
principal  streets  of  this  metropolis,  leading  from 
Bond-street  to  Cornhiil,  must  have  been  at- 
tracted by  the  daily  appearance  of  Ann  Siggs, 
a  tall  woman,  walking  apparently  easy  with 
crutches,  and  mostly  dressed  in  white,  sometimes 
wearing  a  jacket  or  spencer  of  green  baize;  yet 

Ann  Siggs.  7 

always  remarkably  clean  in  her  dress  and  ap- 

It  does  not  appear,  however,  that  this  female 
ranks  very  high  among  the  remark  ables9  having 
but  very  few  eccentricities,  and  nothing  very 
singular,  except  her  dress  and  method  of  walk- 
ing. The  great  burthen  of  warm  clothing  which 
she  always  wears,  is  not  from  affectation,  or  a 
disposition  to  promote  popular  gaze,  but  from 
the  necessity  of  guarding  against  the  least  cold, 
which  she  says  always  increases  a  rheumatic 
complaint  with  which  she  is  afflicted. 

When  we  consider  the  great  number  of  beg- 
gars who  daily  perambulate  London,  and  the 
violence  they  commit  against  decency,  cleanli- 
ness, and  delicate  feelings,  one  naturally  feels 
surprised  they  are  so  often  the  receivers  of  the 
generosity  and  bounty  of  the  passing  crowds; 
but  independent  of  the  commendable  garb 
which  adorns  the  interesting  figure  of  Ann  Siggs, 
we  have  repeatedly  noticed  another  rare  quality 
so  very  uncommon  among  the  mendicant  tribe, 
and  that  is,  a  silent  and  modest  appeal  to  the 
considerate  passenger,  which  almost  involuntarily 
calls  forth  inquiry. 

She  is  about  fifty-six  years  of  age,  and  is  said 
to  have  a  brother  still  living,  an  opulent  trades- 
man on  the  Surrey  side  of  the  water ;  she  also 
had  a  sister  living  at  Isleworth,  who  died  some 
time  since. 

This  mendicant  receives  from  the  parish  of  St. 
Michael,  Cornhill,  a  weekly  allowance,  \vhich, 

8  Martin  Van  ButchelL 

with  the  benevolence  of  some  well-disposed  per- 
sons, probably  adds  considerably  to  her  comforts, 

"  But  cannot  minister  to  the  mind  diseas'd." 

It  appears  she  has  lived  in  Eden-court,  Swal- 
low-street, upwards  of  fifteen  years,  the  lonely 
occupant  of  a  small  back  room,  leaving  it  at  9 
o'clock  every  morning  to  resume  her  daily  walks. 

Her  father  lived  many  years  at  Dorking,  in 
Surrey,  maintaining  the  character  of  an  indus- 
trious, quiet,  and  honest  man,  by  the  trade  of  a 
taylor,  and  who  having  brought  up  a  large  family 
of  eight  children,  died,  leaving  the  present  Ann 
Siggs  destitute  of  parental  protection  at  the  age 
of  eighteen ;  and  after  many  revolutions  of  bright 
and  gloomy  circumstances  that  have  attended 
her  during  her  humble  perambulations,  which 
the  weakest  minds  are  by  no  means  calculated 
to  endure,  these  have  in  some  measure  wrought 
upon  her  intellects.  She  is  however  perfectly 



Surgeon,  Dentist,  Kc. 


The  appellation  of  extraordinary  may,  indeed, 
well  apply  to  this  ingenious  and  whimsical  man. 
All  the  remarkable  eccentricities  which  have  yet 
been  the  characteristic  of  any  man,  however  cele- 

Martin  Van  Butchell 

brated,  may  all  hide  their  diminished  heads  he- 
fore  Martin  Van  Butchell.  He  is  the  morning 
star  of  the  eccentric  world;  a  man  of  uncom- 
mon merit  and  science,  therefore  the  more  won- 
derful from  his  curious  singularities,  his  man- 
ners, and  his  appearance.  Many  persons  make 
use  of  meaas  to  excite  that  attention  which 

10  Martin  Van  Butchell. 

their  merit  did  not  deserve,  and  for  the  obtain- 
ing of  credit  which  they  never  possessed.  It 
appears,  as  an  exception  to  these  rules,  that  the 
singularities  of  Martin  Van  Butchell  have  tended 
more  to  obscure,  than  to  exalt  or  display  the 
sterling  abilities  which  even  the  tongue  of  envy 
has  never  denied  him. 

The  father  of  Martin  Van  Butchell  was  very 
well  known  in  the  reign  of  George  II. ;  being 
tapestry- maker  to  his  majesty,  with  a  salary  of 
^50  per  annum  attached  to  the  office. 

The  education  of  the  son  was  equal  to  the 
father's  circumstances ;  who  lived  in  a  large 
house,  with  extensive  gardens,  known  by  the 
name  of  the  t:  Crown  House"  in  the  parish  of 
Lambeth,  where  several  of  the  gentry  occasion- 
ally lodged  for  the  beauty  of  the  situation  and 
air;  the  son,  who  had  many  opportunities  of 
improvement,  by  and  through  the  distinguished 
persons  who  paid  their  visits  at  hisfather's  house, 
was  early  taken  notice  of,  and  very  soon  pos- 
sessed a  knowledge  of  the  French  language,  and 
arrived  at  many  accomplishments.  He  main- 
tained a  good  character,  with  a  prepossessing 
address ;  recommendations  which  induced  Sir 
Thomas  Robinson  to  solicit  his  acceptance  to 
travel  with  his  son,  as  a  suitable  companion,  in 
a  tour  through  Europe.  This  offer,  it  appears,  was 
not  accepted ;  but  in  a  short  time  after,  he  joined 
the  family  of  the  Viscountess  Talbot;  where,  as 
groom  of  the  chambers,  he  remained  many  years: 
t  situation  so  lucrative  as  to  enable  him  to  leave 

Martin  Fan  Butchell.  1 1 

and  pursue  with  vigour  his  endeared  studies  of 
mechanics,  medicine,  and  anatomy. 

The  study  of  the  human  teeth  accidentally 
took  up  his  attention  through  the  breaking  of  one 
of  his  own,  and  he  engaged  himself  as  pupil  to 
the  famous  Dr.  J.  Hunter.  The  profession  of 
dentist  was  the  occasion  of  first  introducing  him 
to  the  notice  of  the  public ;  and  so  successful  was 
he  in  this  art,  that  for  a  complete  set  of  teeth 
he  has  received  the  enormous  *  price  of  eighty 
guineas!  We  have  heard  of  a  lady  who  was 
dissatisfied  with  teeth  for  which  she  had  paid 
him  ten  guineas ;  upon  which  he  voluntarily  re- 
turned the  money :  scarcely  had  she  slept  upon 
the  contemplation  of  this  disappointment,  before 
she  returned,  soliciting  the  set  of  teeth,  which  he 
had  made  her,  as  a  favour,  with  an  immediate 
tender  of  the  money  which  she  originally  paid, 
and  received  them  back  again. 

After  many  years  successfully  figuring  as  a  den- 
tist, Martin  Van  Butchell  became  no  less  eminent 
as  a  maker  of  trusses  for  ruptured  persons.  A 
ph3*sician  of  eminence  in  Holland  having  heard 
of  his  skill  in  this  practice,  made  a  voyage  for  the 
purpose  of  consulting  him,  and  was  so  success- 
fully treated,  that,  in  return  for  the  benefit  re- 
ceived, he  taught  Martin  Van  Butchell  the  secret 
of  curing  fistulas ;  which  he  has  practised  ever 
since  in  an  astonishing  and  unrivalled  manner. 

The  eccentricities  of  Martin  now  began  to 
excite  public  notice ;  upon  his  first  wife's  death, 
who,  for  the  great  affection  he  bore  towards  her, 
iie  was  at  first  determined  never  should  be  bu- 

Ifc  Martin  Van  Butchell. 

ried  ;  after  embalming  the  body,  he  kept  her  in 
her  wedding  clothes  a  considerable  time,  in  the 
parlour  of  his  own  house,  which  occasioned  the 
visits  of  a  great  number  of  the  nobility  and  gen- 
try. It  has  been  reported,  that  the  resolution  of 
kis  keeping  his  wife  unburied,  was  occasioned  by 
a  clause  in  the  marriage  settlement,  disposing  of 
certain  property,  while  she  remained  above 
ground:  we  cannot  decide  how  far  this  may  be 
true,  but  she  has  been  since  buried.  He  has  a 
propensity  to  every  thing  in  direct  opposition  to 
other  persons :  he  makes  it  a  rule  to  dine  by 
himself,  and  for  his  wife  and  children  also  to 
dine  by  themselves ;  and  it  is  his  common  cus- 
tom to  call  his  children  by  whistling,  and  by  no 
other  way. 

Next  to  his  dress  and  the  mode  of  wearing 
his  beard,  one  of  the  first  singularities  which  dis- 
tinguished him,  was  walking  about  London 
streets,  with  a  large  Otaheitan  tooth  or  bone  in 
his  hand,  fastened  in  a  string  to  his  wrist,  in- 
tended to  deter  the  boys  from  insulting  him,  as 
they  very  improperly  were  used  to  do,  before 
his  person  and  character  were  so  well  known. 

Upon  the  front  of  his  house,  in  Mount-street, 
he  had  painted  the  following  puzzle : 


Thus,  said  sneaking  Jack,  .      speaking  like  himself, 

I'll  be  first  5  if  I  get  my  money ,RO          1  dou*t  care  who  suffers. 



Martin  Van  Butchell.  13 


With  caustic  care and  old  Phim 



Sometimes  in  Six  Days,  and  always  ten — 

the  fistulse  in  Ano. 


July  Sixth 


Licensed  to  deal  in  Perfumery,  i.  e. 

Hydrophobfa  cured  ia  thirty  days, 


made  of  Milk  and  Honey. 

which  remained  some  years.  In  order  a  little  to 
comprehend  it :  some  years  ago,  he  had  a  famous 
dun  horse,  but  on  some  dispute  with  the  stable- 
keeper,  the  horse  was  detained  for  the  keep,  and 
at  last  sold,  by  the  ranger  of  Hyde-Park,  at  Tat- 
tersai's,  where  it  fetched  a  very  high  price.  This 
affair  was  the  cause  of  a  law-suit,  and  the  reason 
why  Martin  Van  Butchell  interlined  the  curious 
notice  in  small  gold  letters,  nearly  at  the  top,  as 
follows: — "  Thus  said  sneaking  Jack,  speaking  , 
like  himself,  I'll  be  first;  if  I  get  my  money,  I 
don't  care  who  suffers." 

After  losing  his  favourite  dun  horse,  a  pur- 
chase was  soon  made  of  a  small  white  poney, 
which  he  never  suffers  to  be  trimmed  in  any 
manner  whatever;  the  shoes  for  it  are  always 
fluted  to  prevent  slipping,  and  he  will  not  suffer 

14  Martin  Van  Butchell. 

the  creature  to  wear  any  other.  His  saddle  is 
no  less  curious.  He  humorously  paints  the 
poney,  sometimes  all  purple,  often  with  purple 
spots,  and  with  streaks  and  circles  upon  his 
face  and  hinder  parts.  He  rides  on  this  equi- 
page very  frequently,  especially  on  Sundays,  in 
the  Park  and  about  the  streets. 

The  curious  appearance  of  him  and  his  horse 
have  a  very  striking  effect,  and  always  attracts 
the  attention  of  the  public.  His  beard  has  not 
been  shaved  or  cut  for  fifteen  years;  his  hat 
shallow  and  narrow  brimmed,  and  now  almost 
white  with  age,  though  originally  black:  his 
coat  a  kind  of  russet  brown,  which  has  been 
worn  a  number  of  years,  with  an  old  pair  of 
boots  in  colour  like  his  hat  and  about  as  old. 
His  bridle  is  also  exceedingly  curious;  to  the 
head  of  it  is  fixed  a  blind,  which,  in  case  of 
taking  fright  or  starting,  can  be  dropped  over 
the  horse's  eyes,  and  be  drawn  up  again  at 

Many  have  been  the  insults  and  rude  attacks 
of  the  ignorant  and  vulgar  mob,  at  different 
times,  upon  this  extraordinary  man;  and  in- 
stances have  occurred  of  these  personal  attacks 
terminating  seriously  to  the  audacious  offender. 
One  man,  we  remember,  had  the  extreme  auda- 
city to  take  this  venerable  character  by  the  beard; 
in  return,  he  received  a  blow  from  the  injured 
gentleman,  with  an  umbrella,  that  had  nearly 
broken  a  rib. 

We  shall  now  endeavour  to  exhibit  his  remark- 
able turn  for  singularity,  by  his  writings,  as  pub- 

Martin  Van  ButchelL  15 

lished  at  different  times  in  the  public  prints,  and 
affording  entertainment  for  the  curious : 

"  Corresponding — Lads  —  Remember  Judas  : 

And  the  year  80  !  Last  Monday  Morning,  at  7  o'clock, 
Doctor  Merry  man,  of  Queen-street ,  May -f air  ^  pre- 
sented Elizabeth,  the  wife  of  Martin  Van  Butchell, 
with  her  Fifth  fine  Boy,  at  his  House  in  Mount  Street, 
Grosvenor  Square,  and — they — are — all — well — .  Post 
Master  General  for  Ten  Thousand  Pounds  ( — we  mean 
Gentlemen's — Not  a  Penny  less — )  I  will  soon  con- 
struct—such  M ail-Coach — Perch — Bolts  as  shall  never 
break  ! 

To  many  I  refer — for  my  character:  Each  will  have 
grace — to  write  his  case ;  soon  as  he  is  well — an  history 
tell ;  for  the  public  good ; — to  save  human  blood, 
as — all — true — folk — shou'd.  Sharkish  people  may — 

keep  themselves  away, Those  that  use  me  Hi — I 

never  can  heal,  being  forbidden — to  cast  pearls  to 
pigs;  lest — they — turn — and — tear.  Wisdom  makes, 
dainty  :  patients  come  to  me,  with  heavy  guineas, — be- 
tween ten  and  one  ;  but — / — go — to — none." 

Mender  of  Mankind ;  in  a  manly  way. 

In  another  advertisement,  he  says  : 

"  That  your  Majesty's  Petitioner  is  a  British  Chris- 
tian Man,  aged  fifty-nine — with  a  comely  beard — full 
eight  inches  long.  That  your  Majesty's  Petitioner  was 
born  in  the  County  of  Middlesex— brought  up  in  the 
County  of  Surrey— and  has  never  been  out  of  the 
Kingdom  of  England.  That  your  Majesty's  Petitioner 
( — about  ten  years  ago — )  had  often  the  high  honour 
(—before  your  Majesty's  Nobles—)  of  conversing  with 
your  Majesty  ( — face  to  face — )  when  we  were  hunting1 
of  the  stag — on  Windsor  Forest." 

16  John  Statham. 

"  British  Christian  Lads  ( — Behold— now  is  the 
day — of  Salvation.  Get  understanding- ,  as  the  high- 
est gain.  — )  Cease  looking  boyish  ;  -become  quite 
manly! — (Girls  are  fond  of  hair:  it  is  natural. — ) 
Let  your  beards  grow  long:  that  ye  may  be  strong: 
— in  mind — and  body:  as  weie  great  grand  dads: — 
Centuries  ago ;  when  John  did  not  owe — a  single 
penny:  more  than—he  -could  — pay." 

Many  more  equally  whimsical  advertisements 
might  be  selected,  and  many  additional  anec- 
dotes might  be  told  of  him ;  but  what  we  have 
here  recorded  concerning  this  complete  original 
may  be  depended  upon.  Not  one  word  of  w:hich 
is  contrary  to  truth. 



Well  known  about  the  streets  of  London. 

IT  seems  that  this  extraordinary  character  was 
born  blind,  about  the  year  176&  Having  been 
deprived  of  his  father,  whilst  very  young,  he 
was  taken  care  of  by  his  father-in-law,  a  brass- 
founder;  and,  early  in  life,  habituated  to  attend 
very  constantly  the  public  worship  of  the  church 
of  England;  but  it  appears,  the  visits  he  then 
made  to  places  of  worship  were  more  from  the 
authority  of  his  father-in-law,  than  from  any 
relish  he  had  for  the  benefit  of  assembling 
amongst  religious  people;  on  the  contrary,  he 
was  averse  to  the  practice  of  going  to  church, 

John  Statham. 


and  therefore  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  at,  that 
he  should  be  found  at  length  professing  openly, 
by  words  and  actions,  similar  dislike  even  to  re- 
ligion itself.  But  his  continuance  in  these  sen- 
timents was  suddenly  changed,  in  accidentally 
meeting  with  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon's 
Hymns,  and  the  preaching  of  a  gentleman  at 

18  John  Statliam. 

Spa  Fields  Chapel,  so  that  he  became  more  and 
more  enraptured  with  the  sublime  doctrines  of 
the  Gospel ;  and  has  ever  since  constantly  at- 
tended upon  the  dissenting  meetings.  And 
though  blind,  he  does  not  walk  in  darkness,  like 
too  many  professing  Christians,  "  who  have 
eyes,  but  see  not." 

Those  who  have  the  use  of  their  sight,  and 
have  been  constantly  resident  in  London,  are  not 
better  acquainted  with  the  town  than  poor  Sta- 
tham.  With  astonishing  precision,  he  finds  his 
way,  from  street  to  street,  and  from  house  to 
house,  supplying  his  customers  with  the  various 
periodical  publications  that  he  carries  ;  and  this 
only  by  the  means  of  an  extraordinary  retentive 
memory.  His  constant  companion  being  a 
stick,  whereby  lie  feels  his  way.  Such  is  his 
care  and  recollection,  that  he  has  never  been 
known  to  lose  himself. 

Whilst  living  with  his  father-in-law,  he  paid 
great  attention  to  the  brass  foundery  business 
and  still  remembers  the  process  of  that  art.  On 
the  death  of  his  father- in -law,  poor  Statham  be- 
came possessed  of  a  very  small  freehold  estate : 
the  produce  of  which  is,  however,  so  trifling, 
that  were  it  not  for  the  occasional  assistance  of 
benevolent  persons,  and  his  little  magazine  walk, 
the  wants  of  nature  could  not  be  supplied.  He 
uses  every  exertion  within  his  power  to  increase 
his  weekly  pittance ;  but  the  cruelty  exercised 
upon  him  by  inconsiderate  people  has,  at  dif- 
ferent times,  given  him  severe  pain  and  bitter 
disappointment :  the  inhumanity  we  allude  to,  is 

John  Stalham.  W 

that  of  sending  him  orders  for  magazines  to  be  ta- 
ken to  places,  several  miles  distant,  which  when 
purchased  and  conveyed  to  the  fictitious  place,  he 
has  been  told, "  No  such  books  have  been  ordered, 
nor  is  there  any  one  of  that  name  lives  here."  Now 
if  the  persons  so  treating  a  poor  defenceless  man, 
only  reflected  a  moment,  at  least  they  would 
forbear  the  shameful  exercise  of  such  wanton 

As  we  have  hinted  at  the  strength  of  his  me- 
mory, we  will  now  produce  some  facts  to  sub- 
stantiate the  truth.  Hecan  repeat  all  the  Church 
of  England  service,  and  a  great  part  of  the  Old 
and  New  Testament;  some  particular  portions  of 
Scripture  which  he  considers  remarkably  striking 
he  delivers  with  peculiar  emphasis;  besides  the 
recollection  of  Lady  Huntingdon's  Hymns.  Eve- 
ry sermon  he  hears  he  will  go  over,  when  returned 
home,  with  astonishing  precision. 

Equal  to  his  retentive  memory  is  his  ingenuity, 
possessing  an  extensive  knowledge  of  metals,  cop- 
per, tin,  brass,  pewter,  &c.  &c.  He  can  like- 
wise tell  if  pinchbeck  is  or  not  a  good  mixture  of 
copper  and  brass  of  equal  proportion ! 

And  no  less  remarkable  is  his  retention  of  hear- 
ing: we  remember  upon  a  time,  a  person  only 
having  been  once  in  his  company,  and  after  an 
absence  of  some  months  the  same  gentleman 
paid  him. a  second  visit;  poor  Statham  imme- 
diately looked  to  the  spot  from  whence  the  voice 
proceeded,  and  having  repeatedly  turned  his 
head,  wiithout  any  further  information,  instantly 
addressed  the  gentleman  he  recollected. 

20  Anne  Longman. 

It  appears  he  is  extremely  fond  of  music,  and 
what  is  called  spiritual  singing.  His  mode  of 
living  is  always  regular  and  frugal ;  strong  liquors, 
so  much  used  by  the  poor  of  this  country,  are 
by  him  religiously  abstained  from.  These  cir- 
cumstances cause  him  to  receive  the  advantages 
of  a  regular  good  state  of  health,  and  that  cheer- 
fulness of  mind  and  patience  in  suffering  so  very 
conspicuous  in  his  character. 

Since  the  above  account  was  written,  this  unfortunate  indi- 
vidual was  found,  by  the  road  side,  near  Baeuigsje  Wells, 
frozen  to  death,  on  Christmas  morning-,  December  25th,  1808, 
having  lost  his  way  in  that  memorably  severe  storm  of  frost 
and  snowj  of  Christmas  eve  of  that  year. 



WE  have  now  to  take  notice  of  a  female  who 
never  fails  to  attract  particular  notice;  she  is 
mostly  attended  by  a  crowd :  with  the  assistance 
of  a  musical  instrument,  called  a  guitar,  she  adds 
her  own  voice,  which,  combined  with  the  in- 
strument, has  a  very  pleasing  effect. 

A  decent  modesty  is  conspicuous  in  this  per- 
son, more  so  than  in  any  other  we  have  ever  wit- 
nessed following  so  humble  a  calling.  She  is 
wife  to  a  soldier  in  the  foot-guards,  and  lost  her 
sight  by  suckling  twin  children,  who  are  some- 
times writh  her,  conducted  by  a  girl,  who  seems 
engaged  to  assist  the  family  both  at  home  and 
out  of  doors.  Cleanliness,  at  all  times  the 

Anne  Longman. 


nurse  of  health,  is  by  nine-tenths  of  the  poor  of 
this  land  banished  existence,  as  if  it  were  matter 
of  misery  to  be  distinguished  by  a  clean  skin  and 
with  clean  clothes;  now  this  rarity,  we  speak 
of,  is  amply  possessed  by  Anne  Longman,  and 
though  not  quite  so  conspicuous  in  this  parti- 
cular as  Ann  Siggs,  yet  she  lays  strong  claim  to 
pity  and  charitable  sympathy.  It  cannot  be 
supposed  that  her  husband,  possessing  only  the 
salary  arising  from  the  situation  of  a  private  in 

22  John  and  Robert  Green. 

the  foot-guards,  can  support,  without  additional 
assistance,  himself,  his  wife  quite  blind,  and  a 
family  of  four  childrejuwithout  encountering 
some  severe  trials  and  dimculties ;  so  that,  upon 
the  whole,  it  is  a  matter  of  satisfaction  and  plea- 
sure to  find,  that,  incumbered  as  she  is,  some 
addition  is  made  to  their  support  through  the 
innocent  means  of  amusing  the  surrounding  spec- 
tators by  her  melody. 



THESE  pedestrians  form  a  singular  sight;  twins 
in  birth,  and  partners  in  misfortunes  in  life; 
they  came  into  the  world  blind ;  and  blind  are 
compelled  to  wade  their  way  through  a  world 
of  difficulties  and  troubles. 

Though  nothing  very  remarkable  can  be  re- 
corded of  them,  yet  there  is  something  in  their 
looks  and  manners  that  at  least  renders  them 
conspicuous  characters. 

They  are  continually  moving  from  village  to 
village,  from  town  to  town,  and  from  city  to 
city,  never  omitting  to  call  upon  London,  whe- 
ther outward  or  homeward  bound.  It  is  observ- 
able, however,  they  never  play  but  one  tune, 
which  may  account  for  their  not  stopping  any 

John  and  Robert  Green.  23 

length  of  time  in  one  place.  For  upwards  of 
twenty  years  they  have  always  been  seen  to- 

John  and  Robert  Green  are  visitors  at  most 
country  fairs,  particularly  at  the  annual  Statute 
Fair,  held  at  Chipping  Norton,  which  they  never 
fail  to  attend ;  and  at  this  place,  it  appears,  they 
were  born. 

When  in  London,  they  are  always  noticed 
with  a  guide ;  and  as  soon  as  the  old  harmony 

24  Tom  and  his  Pigeons. 

is  finished,  one  takes  hold  of  the  skirt  of  the 
other's  coat,  and  in  that  manner  proceed  until 
they  again  strike  up  the  regular  tune.  We  are 
inclined  to  think  the  charity  bestowed  upon  them 
is  not  given  as  a  retaining  fee,  but  rather  to  get 
rid  of  a  dissonance  and  a  discord  which,  from 
continual  repetition,  becomes  exceedingly  dis- 
agreeable ;  though  in  this  manner  they  pick  up 
a  decent  subsistence. 


A  noted  Character, 


THOMAS  SUGD EN  seems  determined  to  distin- 
guish himself  from  the  rest  of  his  brethren,  by 
carrying  two  pigeons  upon  his  shoulders,  and  one 
upon  his  head ;  healthy  and  fine  birds  continue 
so  but  a  little  time  with  him.  He  is  the  dirtiest 
among  the  dirty;  and  his  feathered  companions 
soon  suffer  from  this  disgusting  propensity ;  one 
week  reduces  their  fine  plumage  and  health  to  a 
level  with  the  squalid  and  miserable  appearance 
of  their  master,  whose  pockets  very  often  contain 
the  poor  prisoners,  to  be  ready  to  bring  them 
forth  at  the  first  convenient  stand  he  thinks  it 
most  to  his  advantage  to  occupy;  and  from  this 
mode  of  conveyance  are  they  indebted  for  broken 
feathers,  dirt,  &c. 

Tom  and  his  Pigeons. 


Sugden,  a  native  of  Yorkshire,  lost  his  sight  in 
a  dreadful  storm,  on  board  the  Gregson  merchant- 
man, Capt.  Henley,  commander :  the  particulars 
he  sometimes  relates,  and  attributes  his  misfor- 
tunes to  an  early  neglect  of  parental  admonition, 
when  nothing  but  sea  could  serve  his  turn.  He 
addresses  his  younger  auditors  upon  this  subject, 
and  remonstrates  with  them  on  the  advantage  of 
obedience  to  their  parents, 


ELEVATED  as  the  belll-ringing  tribe  are  above 
this  humble  creature,  the  correct  manner  of  his 
ringing,  with  hand-bells,  various  peals  and  song 
tunes,  would  puzzle  the  judgments  of  a  very 
large  portion  of  regular-bred  belfry  idlers. 

Numbers  of  persons  have  attended  upon  his 
performance,    particularly   when   his   self-con- 

George  Romondo.  27 

strutted  belfry  was  in  existence,  near  Broad  Wall, 
Lambeth,  containing  a  peal  of  eight  bells,  from 
which  he  obtained  a  tolerable  livelihood ;  here  he 
was  soon  disturbed,  and  obliged  to  quit,  to  make 
way  for  some  building  improvement.  He  has 
ever  since  exercised  his  art  in  most  public  places, 
on  eight,  ten,  and  sometimes  twelve  bells,  for 
upwards  of  twenty-four  years.  He  frequently 
accompanies  the  song  tunes  with  his  voice,  add- 
ing considerably  to  the  effect,  though  he  has 
neither  a  finished  nor  powerful  style  of  execu- 
tion. While  he  performs  upon  the  hand-bells 
(which  he  does  sitting),  he  wears  a  hairy  cap, 
to  which  he  fixes  two  bells ;  two  he  holds  in 
each  hand ;  one  on  each  side,  guided  by  a  string 
connected  with  the  arm;  one  on  each  knee; 
and  one  on  each  foot.  It  appeal's,  he  originally 
came  from  the  city  of  Norwich,  and  was  em- 
ployed as  a  weaver  in  that  place  some  years, 
but,  having  (from  a  cold)  received  an  injury  to 
his  sight,  resigned  his  trade  for  the  profession, 
which  necessity  now  compels  him  to  follow. 


IV-ell  known  for  his  imitative  abilities 


IT  seems  the  important  study  of  ass-braying, 
wild-boar  grunting,  and  the  cry  of  hungry  pigs, 

2$  George  Romondo. 

has  engaged  for  some  years  the  attention  of  this 
original.  In  addition  to  these  harmonious  and 
delightful  sounds,  another  description  of  melody 
he  successfully  performs,  which  is  on  the  trum- 
pet, French  horn,  drum,  &c. 

An  Italian  took  a  fancy  to  his  wonderful  inge- 
nuity, and  had  him  imported  into  England.  As  an 
inducement  to  obtain  George's  consent  to  leave 
the  city  of  Lisbon,  in  Portugal,  the  place  of  his 

George  Romondo.  29 

nativity,  he  was  most  flatteringly  assured  of 
making  his  fortune. 

Romondo  took  shipping  for  England,  safely 
arrived  in  London  early  in  the  year  1800;  and 
soon  after  commenced  operations  in  a  caravan 
drawn  by  horses,  nearly  resembling  those  used 
by  the  famous  Pidcock,  for  the  travelling  of  his 
wild  beasts  up  and  down  the  country.  In  this 
manner  Romondo  began  making  a  tour  of  Eng- 
land, from  fair  to  fair,  under  the  style  and  title 
He  now  became  alternately  pig,  boar,  and  ass, 
for  the  Italian's  profit,  with  an  allowance  of 
2s.  6d.  per  day,  for  himself.  It  is  natural  to 
suppose  such  a  speculation  could  not  be  attended 
with  success;  the  event  actually  turned  out  so; 
and  after  some  time  it  was  given  up,  and  our 
poor  mountain  hero  left  by  this  cunning  Italian, 
to  shift  for  himself. 

He,  however,  soon  after  commenced  opera- 
tions upon  his  -own  account,  and  continues  to 
this  day  to  exercise  his  surprising  talents ! 

He  is  about  forty-three  years  of  age,  wears  a 
cocked  hat,  drooping  a  prodigious  length  over 
his  shoulders,  completely  in  the  fashion  of  a 
dustman  or  coalheaver,  and  with  a  coat  ac- 
tually sweeping  the  ground.  In  height  he  is 
about  three  feet  six  inches;  his  legs  and  thighs 
appear  like  a  pair  of  callipers  ;  he  is  said  to  be, 
in  temper,  very  good  natured ;  and  is  very  fond 
of  the  ladies,  often  kissing  their  elbows,  which 
come  exactly  parallel  with  his  lips,  as  he  walks 
the  streets  of  London;  and  in  exchange,  many 

SO  Toly. 

a  box  on  the  ear  has  been  received,  with  appa- 
rent good  nature.  At  particular  times,  he  is 
seen  in  his  full  dress,  with  a  round  fashionable 
hat,  white  cotton  stockings,  and  red  slippers. 



A  frequent  visitor  about  the  streets  of  London. 

FROM  the  unintelligible  crying  jargon  this  man 
utters,  while  supplicating  charity,  one  would  be 
induced  to  suppose  him  ignorant  of  the  English 
language ;  but  he  possesses,  at  least,  as  perfect 
a  knowledge  of  it  as  most  persons  in  his  humble 

The  use  of  his  own  native  language  is  of  great 
advantage  to  him,  in  exciting  the  pity  and  fixing 
the  attention  of  the  passenger;  and  is,  besides, 
a  great  inducement  to  many  to  extend  their 
charity  to  this  apparently  distressed  stranger. 
Indeed  he  exercises  every  art,  and  leaves  no  me- 
thod untried,  to  work  upon  the  various  disposi- 
tions of  those  he  supplicates.  Very  often  he 
will  preach  to  the  spectators  gathered  round 
him,  presuming  frequently  to  make  mention  of 
the  name  of  Jesus;  and,  sometimes,  he  will 
amuse  another  sort  of  auditors  with  a  song; 
and  when  legging,  he  always  appears  bent  dou^ 


ble,  as  if  with  excessive  pain  and  fatigue.  But 
here  again  is  another  deception  and  trick  of  a 
very  shallow  manufacture :  for  in  the  same  day 
we  have  seen  him,  when  outward-bound,  in  the 
morning,  so  bent  double  as  with  &fixed  affliction ; 
but  on  his  return  home  in  the  evening,  after  the 
business  of  the  day  is  closed,  this  black  Toby 
reverses  his  position,  lays  aside  all  his  restraints, 
walks  upright,  and  with  as  firm  a  step  as  the 
nature  of  his  loss  will  allow,  begins  talking  Eng- 

32  Toby. 

lish,  and  ceases  preaching.  To  all  appearance, 
a  daily  and  universal  miracle  appears  to  be 
wrought;  for  scarcely  are  he  and  his  jovial 
companions  assembled  together  in  one  place 
and  with  one  accord;  or  rather  scarcely  has 
liquor  appeared  upon  the  table,  than  the  blind 
can  see — the  dumb  speak — the  deaf  hear — and 
the  lame  walk !  Here,  indeed,  as  Pope  has  said, 
one  might 

"  See  the  "blind  beggar  dance,  the  cripple  sing:" 

Or,  as  he  has  neatly  said  upon  a  more  solemn 

"  Hear  the  dumb  sing ;  the  lame  his  crutch  forego, 
"  And  leap,  exulting,  like  the  bounding  roe." 

To   descend    from    the   imitations   of   these 
poetic  strains,  we  add,  that  to  such  assemblies* 

*  From  some  such  meetings  as  these,  we  suppose  the 
following  circular  club  letter  to  have  been  issued : 

"  The  company  of  all  mumpers,  cadjers,  match-makers, 
dandelion-diggers,  dragon-fogrum-gatherers,  water-cress- 
fisherss  and  others,  is  earnestly  requested,  to-morrow  even- 
ing, at  the  Old  Blind  Beak's  Head,  in  Dyot-street,  St. 
Giles's,  at  9  o'clock  precisely.  As  the  house  has  been 
altered,  the  company  will  be  accommodated  with  a  large 
room  up  stairs;  but  those  who  are  not  really  lame,  are 
desired  to  leave  their  sticks  and  crutches  at  the  bar,  to 
prevent  mischief.  After  the  admission  of  new  members, 
the  president  will  give  directions  from  the  chair,  for 
avoiding  beadles  and  all  other  unlucky  persons ;  point 

Totnj.  33' 

as  those  just  described,  Toby  is  a  visiting  mem- 
ber, and  is  frequently  called  upon  from  the 
chair  to  amuse  the  company;  and  ns  a  beggars 
life  is  avowedly  made  up  of  extremes,  from 
these  midnight  revels,  he  adjourns  to  a  miserable 
two-penny  lodging,  where,  with  the  regular 
return  of  the  morning,  as  a  carpenter  pu.tteth  on 
his  apron,  or  as  a  trowel  is  taken  into  the  hand 
of  a  bricklayer;  even  so  Black  Tob}^,  laying 
aside  all  the  freaks  of  the  evening,  again  sallies 
forth  in  quest  of  those  objects  of  credulity,  that 
will  ever  be  found  in  a  population  so  extensive 
as  that  of  this  metropolis. 

Toby  was  employed  on  board  a  merchantman, 
bound  from  Bermuda  to  Memel,  and  in  the  voy-- 
age,  from  the  severity  of  the  weather  and  change 
of  climate,  lost  the  whole  of  his  toes  in  the 
passage.  From  Memel,  he  found  his  way  to 

out,  for  the  benefit  of  country  members,  the  best  parts  for 
strolling,  the  method  of  making  artificial  sores,  &e. 

"  Mr.  Nick  Froth,  the  landlord,  also  informs  his  friends 
and  customers,that,onaccountof  the  many  evening  lectures 
and  methodist  meetings,  in  the  winter  season,  the  club 
will  meet  an  hour  later  than  usual.  He  will  also  allow 
sprats  to  be  broiled  on  the  tap-room  five,  let.  his  boy  fetch 
hogs'  maws  and  sheeps'  heads.— And  that  he  likewise 
sends  strong  beer  in  white  jugs  or  black  tin  pots  (cut  of 
a  blind)  to  any  of  the  stands,  at  a  reasonable  distance  from 
his  house.— 

"  N.  B.  A  good  stand  to  let,  now  occupied  by  a  person 
who  is  under  the  necessity  of  going'  into  the  Lock  Hos- 

34  Sir  John  Dinely,  Baronet. 

England,  on  board  the  Lord  Nelson  privateer, 
and  ever  since  has  supported  himself  by  the  im- 
proper charity  he  receives  from  begging. 


Sir  JOHN  DINELY,  Baronet, 
One  of  the  Knights  of  Windsor. 

"  Take  him  for  all  in  all, 

*'  We  ne'er  shall  look  upon  his  like  again." 

SIR  JOHN  DINELY  is  descended  from  a  very  illustrious 
family,  which  continued  to  flourish  in  great  repute  in 
AVorcestershire,  till  the  late  centuiy,  when  they  ex- 
pired in  the  person  of  Sir  Edward  Dinely,  Knight. 

The  present  heroic  Sir  John  Dinely  has,  however, 
made  his  name  conspicuous  by  stepping  into  a  new 
road  of  fancy,  by  his  poetic  effusions,  by  his  curious 
advertisements  for  a  wife,  and  by  the  singularity  of  his 
dress  and  appearance. 

Sir  John  now  lives  at  Windsor,  in  one  of  the  habi- 
tations appropriated  to  reduced  gentlemen  of  his  de- 
scription. His  fortune  he  estimates  at  three  hundred 
thousand  pounds,  if  he  could  rccoier  it  ! 

In  dress,  Sir  John  is  no  changeling;  for  nearly 
twenty  years  past  he  has  been  the  faithful  resem- 
blance of  the  engraving  accompanying  this  account. 
He  is  uncommonly  loquacious,  his  conversation  is 
overcharg-ed  with  egotism,  and  such  a  mixture  of  re- 
partee and  evasion,  as  to  excite  doubts,  in  the  minds  of 
superficial  observers,  as  to  the  reality  of  his  character 

Sir  John  Dinely>  Baronet* 

and  abilities.  With  respect  to  his  exterior,  it  is  really 
laughable  to  observe  him,  when  he  is  known  to  be 
going  to  some  public  place  to  exhibit  his  person ;  he 
is  then  decked  out  with  a  full-bottomed  wig-,  a  velvet 
embroidered  waistcoat,  satin  breeches  and  silk  stock- 
ings. On  such  occasions  as  these,  not  a  little  inflated 
with  family  pride,  he  seems  to  imagine  himself  a^ 
great  as  any  lordling :  but  on  the  day  following,  he 
mviy  be  seen  slowly  pacing  from  the  chandler's  shop 

':(j  Sir  John  Dinely,  Baronet. 

with  a  penny  loaf  in  one  pocket^  a  morsel  of  butter,  a 

quartern  of  sugar,  and  a  three-farthing  candle  in  the 


He  is  still  receiving  epistles  in  answer  to  his  adver- 
tisements, and  several  whimsical  interviews  and  ludi- 
crous adventures  have  occurred  in  consequence.  He 
has,  more;  than  once,  paid  his  addresses  to  one  of  his 
own  sex,  dressed  as  a  fine  lady :  at  other  times,  when 
he  has  expected  to  see  his  fair  enamorata  at  a  window, 
he  has  been  rudely  saluted  with  the  contents  of  very 
different  compliments.  One  would  suppose  these  ac- 
cidents would  operate  as  a  cooler,  and  allay  in  some 
degree  the  warmth  of  his  passion.  But  our  heroic 
veteran  still  triumphs  over  every  obstacle,  and  the  hey- 
day of  his  blood  still  beats  high ;  as  may  be  seen  by 
the  following  advertisement  for  a  wife,  in  the  Reading 
Mercury,  May  24,  1802: 

"  Miss  in  her  Teens — let  not  this  sacred  offer  escape  your 
eye.  I  now  call  all  qualified  ladies,  marriageable,  to  chocolate 
;>t  ray  house  every  day  at  your  own  hour. — With  tears  in  my 
<  yes,  1  must  tell  yon,  that  sound  reason  commands  me  to  give 
you  but  one:  month's  notice  befoie  I  part  with  my  chance  of  an 
infant  baronet  for  ever:  for  you  may  readily  hear  that  three 
widows  and  old  maids,  all  aged  above  fifty,  near  my  door,  are 
now  pulling  caps  for  me.  Pray,  my  young  charmers,  give  me 
a  fair  hearing*,  do  not  let  your  avaricious  guardians  unjustly 
fright  you  with  a  false  account  of  a  forfeiture,  but  let  the  great 
Scwel  and  Rivet's  opinions  convince  you  to  the  contrary;  and 
that  I  urn.  uu\v  in  legal  possession  of  these  estates ;  and  with 
the  spirit  of  an  heroine  command  my  three  thousand  pounds, 
and  rank  above  half  the.  ladies  in  our  imperial  kingdom.  By 
your  ladyship\*  directiKg  a  favourable  line  to  me,  Sir  John 
Dinely,  Baronet,  at  my  house  in  Windsor  Castle,  your  attor- 
ury  will  satisfy  you,  that,  if  1  live  but  a  month,  eleven  thou- 
sand pounds  a  year  w  ill  be  your  ladyship's  for  ever." 

Sir  John  does  not  forget  to  attend  twice  or  thrice  a 
year  at  Vauxhall  and  the  theatres,  according  to  ap- 
pointments in  the  most  fashionable  daily  papers.  He 


The  Polite  Grocers  of  the  Strand.  3? 

parades  the  most  conspicuous  parts  of  Vauxhall,  and 
is  also  seen  in  the  front  row  of  the  pit  in  the  theatres ; 
whenever  it  is  known  he  is  to  be  there,  the  house  is 
sure,  especially  by  the  females,  to  be  well  attended. 
Of  late,  Sir  John  has  added  a  piece  of  stay-tape  to  his 
wig,  which  passes  under  his  chin;  from  this  circum- 
stance, some  persons  might  infer  that  he  is  rather  chop- 
fallen  ;  an  inference  by  no  means  fair,  if  we  still  con- 
sider the  gay  complexion  of  his  advertisements  and  ad- 
dresses to  the  ladies. 


"  Brother  John  and  I." 

OUR  engraving  represents  two  singular  characters, 
whose  eccentric  humour  is  well  worthy  of  the  attention 
of  the  curious.  Messrs.  AARON  and  JOHN  TRIM  are 
grocers,  living  at  No.  449,  Strand,  nearly  opposite  to 
VillierVstreet ;  at  this  shop  curiosity  would  not  be  dis- 
appointed of  the  expected  gratification,  from  the  per- 
sonal appearance  of  the  two  gentlemen  behind  the 
counter,  if  there  was  nothing  else  to  strike  the  at- 
tention. One  of  the  gentlemen  is  so  short,  as  fre- 
quently to  be  under  the  necessity  of  mounting  the  steps 
to  serve  his  customers.  And  the  shop  itself  displays 
no  common  spectacle  :  a  dozen  pair  of  scales  are  strewed 
from  one  end  of  the  counter  to  the  other,  mingled  with 
large  lumps  of  sugar  and  various  other  articles;  the 
floor  is  so  completely  piled  with  goods,  one  upon  the 

38  The  Polite  Grocers  of  the  Strand. 

other,  and  in  all  parts  so  covered  that  there  is  passage 
sufficient  but  for  one  person  at  a  time  to  be  served  : 
and  we  believe  there  is  no  shop  in  the  neighbourhood 
so  much  frequented,  although  there  are  a  great  many 
in  the  same  business  within  two  hundred  yards  of  A. 
and  ,T.  Trim.  Their  shop  is  remarkable  for  selling 
is  termed  "  a  good  article"  These  gentlemen 

The  Polite  Grocers  of  the  Strand.  39 

exercise  the  greatest  attention  to  their  customers,  and 
such  good  humour  and  urbanity  of  manners,  as  to  be 
characterised  the  "  POLITE  GROCERS."  They  were 
born  in  the  same  house  in  which  they  now  live,  and 
have  remained  there  ever  since ;  and  where  their  father, 
a  man  well  esteemed,  died  some  years  back,  leaving  the 
business  to  his  sons,  with  considerable  property. 

The  church  of  England  never  had  more  regular  at- 
tenders  upon  -its  ministry  and  forms  of  worship  than  in 
the  persons  of  Messrs.  Aaron  and  John  Trim,  whose  at- 
tendance at  the  public  worship,  at  St.  Martin's,  in  the 
Strand,  is  as  regular  with  them  as  the  neglect  and  de- 
sertion is  common  by  the  generality  of  its  members. 

The  whole  of  the  business  of  the  Polite  Grocers  is 
conducted  by  themselves,  with  now  and  then  the  as- 
sistance of  a  young  woman,  who  appears  principally 
to  have  the  management  of  the  Two-penny-post ;  and 
from  the  extent  of  their  trade,  the  smallness  of  their 
expenses,  and  their  frugality,  it  is  generally  supposed 
they  must  be  rich ;  but  though  extremely  talkative 
upon  any  other  subject,  yet  on  every  point  relating  to 
themselves,  and  their  private  concerns,  they  very  pro- 
perly maintain  the  most  impenetrable  closeness  and 

Abounding  as  this  age  does  with  so  many  temptations 
and  examples  of  extravagance  and  waste,  it  requires  no 
small  portion  of  resolution  to  maintain  a  due  observance 
of  economy,  to  be  kept  from  following  the  public  cur- 
rent in  its  wasteful  fashions  and  extravagant  expenses. 
Now,  that  the  Polite  Grocers  maintain  this  economy, 
cannot  be  doubted  ;  and  which,  in  the  present  situation 
of  things,  must  be  considered  no  small  virtue.  Economy 
without  penuriousness,  liberality  without  prodigality ! 

D  2 



A  conspicuous  blind  voman. 

ANN  JOHNSON  is  a  poor  industrious  widow,  cleanly, 
sober,  and  decent,  inoffensive  and  honest,  and  quite 
blind.  The  engraved  portrait  of  th  s  interesting  figure 
may  be  depended  upon  for  its  faithful  representation 
of  the  much-to-be-pitied  original.  She  was  born  at 

Ann  'Johnson.  41 

Eaton,  in  Cheshire,  on  St.  Andrew's  day,  old  style,  in 
the  year  1743,  was  apprenticed  to  a  ribband  weaver 
at  the  early  age  of  ten  years,  and  was  twenty  four 
years  old  when  she  lost  her  sight,  occasioned  by  a 
spotted  fever. 

Sitting  exposed  to  the  inclemency  of  hot  and  cold,  of 
wet  and  dry  weather,  for  upwards  of  six  and  twenty 
years,  in  the  open  streets  of  London,  might  naturally 
undermine  a  constitution  the  most  vigorous  and  healthy. 
It  certainly  has  considerably  affected  Ann  Johnson, 
whose  regular  appearance,  even  in  the  bitterest  days 
of  winter,  has  been  as  uniform  as  the  finest  in  summer, 
on  Holborn-hill,  upon  the  steps  at  the  corner  of  Mar- 
maduke  and  Thomas  Langdale's  house,  the  distillers. 
Here  she  exhibits  the  expert  manner  in  which  she 
makes  laces,  attracting  the  notice  of  the  considerate 
passenger ;  she  is  rendered  additionally  interesting,  by 
the  cheerfulness  of  her  conversation  and  the  serenity  of 
her  countenance,  using  words,  in  effect,  similar  to  the 
following  beautiful  lines : 

"  Are  not  the  ravens  daily  fed  by  thee? 

And  wilt  thou  clothe  the  lilies,  and  not  me? 
Begone  distrust ! — I  shall  have  clothes  and  bread, 
While  lilies  flourish,  or  the  birds  are  fed." 

She  resides  at  No.  5,  Church-lane,  Bloomsbury,  and 
has  been  an  inhabitant  of  London  upwards  of  thirty- 
eight  years.  We  particularly  recommend  her  to  the 
considerate  attention  of  every  little  girl  or  young  wo- 
man, and,  when  they  are  in  want  of  any  laces,  to  think 
of  Ann  Johnson. — Such  great  industry  deserves  en- 



Called  the  Sing  of  the  Beggars, 

SUCH  as  have  seen  this  man  in  London  (and  there  are 
very  few  that  have  not)  \vill  be  instantly  struck  with 
the  accuracy  of  the  engraving! 

He  has  literally  rocked  himself  about  London  for 
upwards  of  nineteen  years,  with  the  help  of  a  wooden 
seat,  assisted  by  a  short  pair  of  crutches;  and  the  faci- 
lity with  which  he  moves  is  the  more  singular,  when 

Miss  Theodora  de  Verdion  43 

we  consider  he  is  very  corpulent ;  he  appears  to  possess 
remarkably  good  health,  aiid  is  about  fifty-six  years  of 
age.  In  his  life  we  have  no  great  deal  to  notice,  as 
wonderful  or  remarkable.  His  figure  alone  is  what 
renders  him  a  striking  character;  not  striking  for  the 
height  or  bulk  of  his  person,  but  for  the  mutilated 
singularity  and  diminutive  size  so  conspicuously  at- 
tracting when  upon  his  move  in  the  busiest  parts  of 
London  streets  ;  in  places  that  require  considerable  care, 
even  for  persons  well  mounted  upon  legs,  and  posr 
sessing  a  good  knowledge  in  the  art  of  walking,  to  get 
along  without  accidents ;  but  even  here  poor  Samuel 
works  his  way,  whilst  buried,  as  it  were,  with  the  press 
of  the  crowd,  in  a  manner  very  expeditious,  and 
tolerably  free  from  accidents,  except  being  tumbled 
over  now  and  then  by  people  walking  too  much  in 


commonly  known  by  the  name  of 


Who  lived  in  London  disguised  as  a  man,  a  teacher  of 
languages  and  a  walking  bookseller. 

THIS  singular  woman  was  born  in  the  year  1744,  at 
Leipsic,  in  Germany,  and  died  at  her  lodgings  in  Up- 
per Charles-street,  Hatton-Garden,  London,  July  15, 
1802.  She  was  the  only  daughter  of  an  architect,  of 
the  name  of  Grahn,  who  erected  several  edifices  in  the 
city  of  Berlin,  particularly  the  church  of  St.  Peter. 
She  wrote  an  excellent  hand,  and  had  learned  the  ma- 
thematics, the  French,  Italian,  aad  English  language*. 

44  Miss  Theodora  de  Ferdion. 

and  possessed  a  complete  knowledge  of  her  native 
tongue.  Upon  her  arrival  in  England,  she  commenced 
teacher  of  the  German  language,  under  the  name  of 
Dr.  John  de  Yerdion.  In  h'er  exterior,  she  was  ex- 
tremely grotesque,  wearing  a  bag  wig,  a  large  cocked 
hat,  three  or  four  folio  books  under  one  arm,  and  an 
umbrella  under  the  other,  her  pockets  completely  filled 
with  smali  volumes,  and  a  stick  in  her  right  hand* 

Miss  Theodora  de  Verdion.  45 

She  had  a  good  knowledge  of  English  4jooks ;  many 
persons  entertained  her  for  her  advice,  relative  to  pur- 
chasing them.  She  obtained  a  comfortable  subsistence 
from  teaching  and  translating  foreign  languages,  and 
by  selling  books  chiefly  in  foreign  literature.  She 
taught  the  Duke  of  Portland  the  German  language, 
and  was  always  welcomed  to  his  house ;  the  Prussian 
Ambassador  to  our  court  received  from  her  a  knowledge 
of  the  English  language;  and  several  distinguished 
noblemen  she  frequently  visited  to  instruct  them  in  the 
French  tongue ;  she  also  taught  Edward  Gibbon,  the 
celebrated  Roman  historian,  the  German  language,  pre- 
vious to  his  visiting  that  country.  This  extraordinary 
female  has  never  been  known  to  have  appeared  in  any 
other  but  the  male  dress  since  her  arrival  in  England, 
where  she  remained  upwards  of  thirty  years  ;  and  upon 
occasions  she  would  attend  at  court,  decked  in  very  su- 
perb attire ;  and  was  well  remembered  about  the  streets 
of  London  ;  and  particularly  frequent  in  attending  book 
auctions,  and  would  buy  to  a  large  amount,  sometimes 
a  coach  load,  &c.  Here  her  singular  figure  generally 
made  her  the  jest  of  the  company. 

Her  general  purchase  at  these  sales  was  odd  vo- 
lumes ;  which  she  used  to  carry  to  other  booksellers, 
and  endeavour  to  sell,  or  exchange  for  other  books. 
She  was  also  a  considerable  collector  of  medals  and 
foreign  ^coins  of  gold  and  silver ;  but  none  of  these 
were  found  after  her  decease.  She  frequented  the 
Furnivars  Inn  coffee  house,  in  Holborn,  dining  there 
almost  every  day ;  she  would  have  the  first  of  every 
thing  in  season,  and  was  as  strenuous  for  a  large  quan- 
tity, as  she  was  dainty  in  the  quality  of  what  she  chose 
for  her  table.  At  times,  it  is  well  known,  she  could 
dispense  with  three  pounds  of  solid  meat ;  and,  we  are 
sorry  to  say,  she  was  much  inclined  to  extravagant 

46  Miss  Theodora  de  Verdivn. 

The  disorder  of  a  cancer  in  her  breast,  occasioned 
by  falling  down  stairs,  she  was,  after  much  affliction, 
at  length  compelled  to  make  known  to  a  German 
physician,  who  prescribed  for  her;  when  the  disorder 
turned  to  a  dropsy,  defied  all  cure,  and  finished  the 
career  of  so  remarkable  a  lady. 

To  foDow  lovers,  women  there  have  been 

Disguis'd  as  men,  who've  dar'd  the  martial  scene  j 

Or,  in  pursuit  of  an  inconstant  swain, 

Experienc'd  all  the  dangers  of  the  main. 

Not  so  DE  VERDION,  for  some  other  plan 

She  laid  aside  the  woman  for  the  man. 

Perhaps  she  thought,  that  female  garb  and  looks 

111  spoke  the  gravity  of  German  books; 

That  as  a  woman  she  could  not  pretend 

To  teach,  translate,  and  literature  to  vend ; 

That  as  a  woman  she  could  never  be 

A  DOCTOR,  since  'tis  man  takes  that  degree: 

Who  can  deny  that  a  lag  wig  denotes 

More  sense,  more  consequence,  than  petticoats  f 

And  probably  our  hero-heroine  knew 

That  otherwise  her  nostrums  would  not  do  ! 

But  haply  Prudence  urgM  this  strange  disguise, 

(For  in  concealment  modesty  oft  lies) 

Assur'd  she'd  have  to  deal  with  wicked  men, 

She  might  have  chose  this  metamorphose  then, 

And,  as  poor  women  always  weak  are  thought, 

Security  from  men's  appearance  sought  ; 

Then  let  not  ridicule  insult  her  name, 

For  who  can  tell  but  virtue  was  her  aim; 

That  she  disclaimed  her  sex  through  pious  care, 

And  thus,  ye  fair  ones,  left  a  name  that's^/oir; 

For,  nature's  common  frailties  set  aside, 

She  liv'd  a  Christian,  and  a  Christian  died; 

Nor  man  nor  woman  by  attire  is  known, 


Daniel  Lamlert. 



Aged  Thirty-six  Years. 

THE  astonishing  weight  of  this  man  is  fifty  stone  and 
upwards,  being  more  than  seven  hundred  pounds; 
the  surprising  circumference  of  his  body  is  three  yards 
four  inches;  his  leg,  one  yard  and  an  inch;  and  his 

48  Daniel  Lambert. 

height,  five  feet  eleven  inches;   and,  though  of  this 
amazing  size,  entirely  free  from  any  corporeal  defect. 

This  very  remarkable  personage  received  his  birth 
in  Leicester;  at  which  place  he  was  apprenticed  to  an 
engraver.  Until  he  arrived  at  the  age  of  twenty  years, 
he  was  not  of  more  than  usual  size,  but  after  that  pe- 
riod he  began  to  increase  in  bulk,  and  has  been  gra- 
dually increasing,  until  within  a  few  months  of  the 
present  time.  He  was  much  accustomed  to  exercise  in 
the  early  years  of  his  life,  and  excelled  in  walking, 
riding  and  shooting;  and  more  particularly  devoted 
himself  to  field  exercises,  as  he  found  himself  inclined 
to  corpulency;  but,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  his 
acquaintance,  it  proved  not  only  unavailing,  but  really 
seemed  to  produce  a  directly  opposite  effect.  Mr. 
Lambert  is  in  full  possession  of  perfect  health ;  and 
whether  sitting,  lying,  standing,  or  walking,  is  quite 
at  his  ease,  and  requires  no  more  attendance  than  any 
common-sized  person.  He  enjoys  his  night's  repose, 
though  he  does  not  indulge  himself  in  bed  longer  than 
the  refreshment  of  sleep  continues. 

The  following  anecdote  is  related  of  him  : — "  Some 
time  since,  a  man  with  adancirg  bear  going  through 
the  town  of  Leicester,  one  of  Mr.  Lambert's  dogs  tak- 
ing a  dislike,  to  his  shaggy  appearance,  made  a  violent 
attack  upon  the  defenceless  animal.  Bruin's  master  did 
not  fail  to  take  the  part  of  his  companion,  and,  in  his 
turn,  began  to  belabour  the  dog.  Lambert,  being  a 
witness  of  the  fray,  hastened  with  all  possible  expedi- 
tion from  the  seat  or  settle  'on  which  he  made  a  prac- 
tice of  sitting  at  his  own  door)  to  rescue  his  dog.  At 
this  moment  the  bear,  turning  round  suddenly,  threw 
down  his  unwieldy  antagonist,  who,  from  terror  and 
his  own  weight,  was  absolutely  unable  to  rise  again, 
and  with  difficulty  got  rid  of  his  formidable  opponent." 
He  is  particularly  abstemious  with  regard  to  diet, 

Daniel  Lambert.  49 

and  for  nearly  twelve  years  has  not  taken  any  liquor, 
either  with  or  after  his  meals,  but  water  alone.  His 
manners  are  very  pleasing  ;  he  is  well-inforrned,  affable, 
and  polite ;  and  having  a  manly  countenance  and  pre- 
possessing1 address,  he  is  exceedingly  admired  by  those 
who  have  had  the  pleasure  of  conversing  with  him. 
His  strength  (it  is  worthy  of  observation)  bears  a  near 
proportion  to  his  wonderful  appearance.  About  eight 
years  ago,  he  carried  more  than  four  hundred  weight 
and  a  half,  as  a  trial  of  his  ability,  though  quite  un- 
accustomed to  labour.  His  parents  were  not  beyond 
the  moderate  size  ;  and  his  sisters,  who  are  still  living, 
are  by  no  means  unusually  tall  or  large.  A  suit  of 
clothes  costs  him  twenty  pounds,  so  great  a  quantity  of 
materials  are  requisite  for  their  completion, 

It  is  reported,  that  among  those  who  have  recently 
seen  him  was  a  gentleman  weighing  twenty  stone :  he 
seemed  to  suffer  much  from  his  great  size  and  weight. 
Mr.  Lambert,  on  his  departure,  observed,  that  he 
would  not  (even  were  it  possible)  change  situations 
with  him  for  ten  thousand  pounds.  He  bears  a  most 
excellent  character  at  his  native  town,  which  place  he 
left,  to  the  regret  of  many,  on  Saturday,  April  4, 1806, 
for  his  first  visit  to  London. 


Friday,  June  23,  1809. 

We  have  to  announce  the  death  of  this  celebrated 
man,  which  took  place  in  this  town  at  half  past 
S  o* clock  on  Wednesday  morning  last. 

50  Daniel  Lambert. 

Mr.  Lambert  had  travelled  from  Huntingdon  hither 
in  the  early  part  of  the  week,  intending  to  receive  the 
visits  of  the  curious  who  might  attend  the  ensuing  races. 
On  Tuesday  evening  he  sent  a  message  to  the  office  of 
this  paper,  requesting  that,  as  "  the  mountain  could  not 
wait  upon  Mahomet,  Mahomet  would  go  to  the  moun- 
tain/' Or,  in  other  words,  that  the  printer  would  call 
upon  him  to  receive  an  order  for  executing  some  hand- 
bills, announcing  Mr.  Lambert's  arrival,  and  his  desire 
to  see  company. 

The  orders  he  gave  upon  that  occasion  were  de- 
livered without  any  presentiment  that  they  were  to  be 
his  last,  and  with  his  usual  cheerfulness.  He  was 
in  bed  —  one  of  large  dimensions  —  ("  Ossa  upon 
Olympus,  and  Pelion  upon  Ossa") — fatigued  with 
his  journey;  but  anxious  that  the  bills  might  be 
quickly  printed,  in  order  to  his  seeing  company  next 

Before  nine  o'clock  on  that  morning,  however,  he 
tvas  a  corpse !  Nature  had  endured  all  the  trespass 
she  could  admit:  the  poor  man's  corpulency  had 
constantly  increased,  until,  at  the  time  we  have  men- 
tioned, the  clogged  machinery  of  life  stood  still,  and 
the  prodigy  of  Mammon  was  numbered  with  the 

He  was  in  his  40th  year ;  and  upon  being  weighed, 
within  a  few  days,  by  the  famous  Caledon's  balance, 
was  found  to  be  .52  stone  1 1  pounds  in  weight  (I4lb.  to 
the  stone),  which  is  10  stone  lllb.  more  than  the  great 
Mr.  Bright,  of  Essex,  ever  weighed. —  He  had  apart- 
ments at  Mr.  Berridge's,  the  Waggon  and  Horses,  in 
St.  Martin's,  on  the  ground  floor — for  he  had  been  long 
incapable  of  walking  up  stairs. 

His  coffin,  in  which  there  has  been  great  difficulty 
of  placing  him,  is  6  feet  4  inches  long,  4  feet  4  inches 
iride,  and  2  feet  4  inches  deep ;  the  immense  substance 

Mary  Jones.  51 

of  his  legs  makes  it  necessarily  almost  a  square  case. 
The  celebrated  sarcophagus  of  Alexander,  viewed  with 
so  much  admiration  at  the  British  Museum,  would  not 
nearly  contain  this  immense  sheer  hulk. 

The  coffin,  which  consists  of  112  superficial  feet  of 
elm,  is  built  upon  2  axletrees  and  4  cog  wheels ; 
and  upon  these  the  remains  of  the  poor  man  will  be 
rolled  into  his  grave ;  which  we  understand  is  to  be 
in  the  new  burial-ground  at  the  back  of  St.  Martin's 
church. — A  regular  descent  will  be  made  by  cutting 
away  the  earth  slopingly  for  some  distance — the  win- 
dow and  wall  of  the  room  in  which  he  lies  must  be 
taken  down  to  allow  his  exit. —  He  is  to  be  buried  at 
8  o'clock  this  morning. 

N.  B.  There  is  a  very  good  coloured  portrait  of  Daniel  Lambert, 
published  by  W.  DARTON,  Holborn  j  with  particulars 
concerning  him.  Price  One  Shilling. 




Well  known  about  Clieapside,  Newgate- Street, 
Holborn-Bridge9  fyc.  fyc. 

WHIMS  wild  and  simple  lead  her  from  her  home, 
'Mongst  London's  alleys,  streets,  and  lanes,  to  roam. 

Mary  Jones. 

When  morning  wakes,  none  earlier  rousM  than  she, 

Pity  she  claims  and  kind  humanity. 

Affliction  sad  hath  chas'd  her  hard, 

Frailty  her  crime,  and  mis'ry  her  reward  ! 

Her  mind's  serenity  is  lost  and  gone, 

Her  eyes  grown  languid,  and  she  weeps  alone. 

And  oft  the  gaily-passing-  stranger  stays 

His  well-tim'd  steps,  and  takes  a  silent  gaze ; 

A  well-known  Carver.  53 

Or  hears  repeated,  as  he  passes  nigh, 
One  short,  but  simple  word,  "  Good-by!" 
A  beauty  once  she  was  in  life's  gay  morn ; 
Fled  now's  her  beauty,  and  she's  left  forlorn. 
Once  was  she  happy,  calm,  and  free, 
Now  lives  in  woe,  in  rags,  and  misery. 
A  revolution  too  hath  taken  place, 
In  manners,  actions,  and  grimace. 
Unlawful  love  has  marr'd  her  former  peace, 
Quick  vanish 'd  hope ;  and  left  her  comfortless  ! 
She  merits  every  kind  protecting  care : 
Of  generous  bounty  let  her  have  her  share. 
Childish  and  trivial  now  are  all  her  ways ; 
In  peace,  oh !  let  her  live;  with  comfort  end  her  days. 



«  HOT  OR  COLD." 

Hot  or  cold,  she  carves  away 
Ham  and  Beef  all  through  the  day ; 
Enough  of  work  she's  sure  of  finding, 
In  stopping  hunger  or  stomach  lining. 
Through  winter's  cold,  or  summer's  heat, 
Full  is  the  shop  whene'er  we  see't. 


A  well-known  Carver. 


THE    LIFE    OF 


Member  in  three  successive  Parliaments  for  Berkshire. 

MEGGOT  was  the  family  name  of  Mr.  Elwes; 
and  his  name  being  John,  the  conjunction  of  Jack 
Meggot  induced  strangers  to  imagine  sometimes 
thathis  friends  were  addressing  him  by  an  assum- 
ed appellation.  The  father  of  Mr.  Elwes  was  an 
eminent  brewer;  and  his  dwelling-house  and  offi- 
ces were  situated  in  Southwark ;  which  borough 
was  formerly  represented  in  parliament  by  his 
grandfather.  Sir  George  Meggot.  During  his  life 
he  purchased  the  estate  now  in  possession  of  the 
family  of  the  Calverts,  at  Marcham,  in  Berkshire. 
The  father  died  when  the  late  Mr.  Elwes  was  only 
four  years  old;  so  that  little  of  the  singular  cha- 
racter ot  Mr.  Elwes  is  to  be  attributed  to  him  : 
but  from  the  mother  it  may  be  traced  with  ease ; 
she  was  left  nearly  one  hundred  thousand  pounds 
by  her  husband,  and  yet  starved  herself  to  death. 
The  only  children  from  the  above  marriage,  were 
Mr.  Elwes,  and  a  daughter,  who  married  the 
father  of  the  late  Colonel  Timms;  and  from 
thence  came  the  entail  of  some  part  of  the  pre- 
sent estate. 

Mr.  Elwes,  at  an  early  period  of  life,  was  sent 
to  Westminster  School,  where  he  remained  ten  or 
twelve  years.  He  certainly,  during  that  time,  had 
not  misapplied  his  talents ;  for  he  was  a  good  clas- 
sical scholar  to  the  last;  and  it  is  a  circumstance 
yery  remarkable,  yet  well  authenticated,  that  he 

56  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

never  read  afterwards.  Never,  at  any  period  of 
his  future  life,  was  he  seen  with  a  book ;  nor  had 
he  in  all  his  different  houses  left  behind  him  two 
pounds  worth  of  literary  furniture.  His  know- 
ledge in  accounts  was  little;  and,  in  some  mea- 
sure may  account  for  his  total  ignorance  as  to 
his  own  concerns.  The  contemporaries  of  Mr. 
Elwes,  at  Westminster,  were  Mr.  Worsley,  late 
Master  of  the  Board  of  Works,  and  the  late  Lord 
Mansfield;  who,  at  that  time,  borrowed  all  that 
young  Elwes  would  lend.  His  lordship,  how- 
ever, afterwards  changed  his  disposition. 

Mr.  Elwes  from  Westminster-School  removed 
to  Geneva,  where  he  shortly  after  entered  upon 
pursuits  more  congenial  to  his  tern  per  than  study. 
The  riding-master  of  the  academy  had  then  three 
of  the  best  horsemen  in  Europe  for  his  pupils : 
Mr.  Worsley,  Mr.  Elwes,  and  Sir  Sidney  Mea- 
dows. Elwes  of  the  three  was  accounted  the  most 
desperate:  the  young  horses  were  put  into  his 
hands  always;  and  he  was,  in  fact,  the  rough-rider 
of  the  other  two.  He  was  introduced,  during  this 
period,  to  Voltaire,  whom,  in  point  of  appearance, 
he  somewhat  resembled ;  but  though  he  has  often 
mentioned  this  circumstance,  neither  the  genius, 
the  fortune,  nor  the  character,  of  Voltaire,  ever 
seemed  to  strike  him  as  worthy  of  envy. 

Returning  to  England,  after  an  absence  of  two 
or  three  years,  he  was  to  be  introduced  to  his  un- 
cle, the  late  Sir  Harvey  Elwes,  who  was  then  liv- 
ing at  Stoke,  in  Suffolk,  the  most  perfect  picture 
of  human  penury  perhaps  that  ever  existed.  In 
him  the  attempts  of  saving  money  was  so  extraor- 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  57 

dinary,  that  Mr.  Elwes  never  quite  reached  them, 
even  at  the  most  covetous  period  of  his  life.  To 
this  Sir  Harvey  Elwes  he  was  to  be  the  heir,  and 
of  course  it  was  policy  to  please  him.  On  this 
account  it  was  necessary,  even  in  old  Mr.  Elwes, 
to  masquerade  a  little ;  and  as  he  was  at  that 
time  in  the  world,  and  its  affairs,  he  dressed  like 
other  people.  This  would  not  have  done  for  Sir 
Harvey.  The  nephew,  therefore,  used  to  stop  at 
a  little  inn  at  Chelmsford,  and  begin  to  dress  in 
character.  A  pair  of  small  iron  buckles,  worsted 
stockings  darned,  a  worn  out  old  coat,  and  a  tat- 
tered waistcoat,  were  put  on;  and  forwards  he 
rode  to  visit  his  uncle;  who  used  to  contemplate 
him  with  a  kind  of  miserable  satisfaction,  and 
seemed  pleased  to  find  his  heir  bidding  fair  to 
rival  him  in  the  unaccountable  pursuit  of  avarice. 
There  they  would  sit — saving  souls! — with  a  sin- 
gle stick  upon  the  fire,  and  with  one  glass  of 
wine,  occasionally,  betwixt  them,  inveighing 
against  the  extravagance  of  the  times;  and  when 
evening  shut  in,  they  would  immediately  retire  to 
rest — as  going  to  bed  saved  candle-light. 

To  the  whole  of  his  uncle's  property  Mr.  Elwes 
succeeded  ;  and  it  was  imagined  that  his  own  was 
not  at  the  time  very  inferior.  He  got,  too,  an  ad- 
ditional seat;  but  he  got  it  as  it  had  been  most  re- 
ligiously delivered  down  for  ages  past:  the  furni- 
ture was  most  sacredly  antique:  not  a  room  was 
painted,  nor  a  window  repaired:  the  beds  above 
stairs  were  all  in  canopy  and  state,  where  the 
worms  and  moths  held  undisturbed  possession ; 
and  the  roof  of  the  house  \vas  inimitable  for  the 
climate  of  Italy. 

5  8  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

Mr.  Elwes  had  now  advanced  beyond  the  for- 
tieth year  of  his  age ;  and  for  fifteen  years  previous 
to  this  period  it  was  that  he  was  known  in  all  the 
fashionable  circles  of  London.  He  had  always  a 
turn  for  play;  and  it  was  only  late  in  life,  and 
from  paying  always,  and  not  always  being  paid, 
that  he  conceived  disgust  at  the  inclination. 

The  acquaintances  which  he  had  formed  at 
Westminster-school,  and  at  Geneva,  together 
with  his  own  large  fortune,  all  conspired  to  In- 
troduce him  into  whatever  society  he  liked  best. 

Mr.  Elwes,  on  the  death  of  his  uncle,  came  to 
reside  at  Stoke,  in  Suffolk.  Bad  as  was  the  man- 
sion-house he  found  here,  he  left  one  still  worse 
behind  him  atMarcham,  of  which  the  late  Colonel 
Timms,  his  nephew,  used  to  mention  the  following 
proof.  A  few  days  after  he  went  thither,  a  great 
quantity  of  rain  falling  in  the  night,  he  had  not  been 
long  in  bed  before  he  found  himself  wet  through ; 
and  putting  his  hand  out  of  the  clothes,  found  the 
rain  was  dropping  from  the  ceiling  upon  the  bed. 
He  got  up  and  moved  the  bed ;  but  he  had  not 
lain  long,  before  he  found  the  same  inconveniency 
continued.  He  got  up  again,  and  again  the  rain 
came  down.  At  length  after  pushing  the  bed  quite 
round  the  room,  he  re  tired  into  a  corner  where  the 
ceiling  was  better  secured,  and  there  he  slept  till 
morning.  When  he  met  his  uncle  at  breakfast,  he 
told  him  what  had  happened.  "Ay!  ay!"  said  the 
old  man,  seriously ;  "  I  don't  mind  it  myself;  but 
to  those  that  do,  that's  a  nice  corner  in  the  rain." 

Mr.  Elwes,  on  coming  into  Suffolk,  first  began 
to  keep  fox-hounds ;  and  his  stable  of  hunters,  at 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  59 

that  time,  was  said  to  be  the  best  in  the  king- 
dom. Of  the  breed  of  his  horses  he  was  certain, 
because  he  bred  them  himself;  and  they  were 
not  broke  in  till  they  were  six  years  old. 

The  keeping  of  fox-hounds  was  th  e  only  instance 
in  the  whole  life  of  Mr.  Elwes  of  his  ever  sacri- 
ficing money  to  pleasure.  But  even  here  every 
thing  was  done  in  the  most  frugal  manner.  His 
huntsman  had  by  no  means  an  idle  life  of  it. 
This  famous  lacquey  might  have  fixed  an  epoch  in 
the  history  of  servants ;  for,  in  a  morning,  getting 
up  at  four  o'clock,  he  milked  the  cows.  He  then 
prepared  breakfast  for  his  master,  or  any  friends 
he  might  have  with  him.  Then  slipping  on  a 
green  coat,  he  hurried  into  the  stable,  saddled 
the  horses,  got  the  hounds  out  of  the  kennel,  and 
away  they  went  into  the  field.  After  the  fatigues 
of  hunting,  he  refreshed  himself  by  rubbing  down 
two  or  three  horses  as  quickly  as  possible ;  then 
running  into  the  house,  would  lay  the  cloth  and 
wait  at  dinner.  Then  hurrying  again  into  the  sta- 
ble to  feed  the  horses ;  diversified  with  an  inter- 
lude of  the  cows  again  to  milk,  the  dogs  to  feed, 
and  eight  horses  to  litter  down  for  the  night. 
"What  may  appear  extraordinary,  this  man  lived 
in  his  place  for  some  years;  though  his  master  us- 
ed often  to  call  him  "  an  idle  dog!"  and  say,  "  the 
rascal  wanted  to  be  paid  for  doing  nothing." 

An  inn  upon  the  road,  and  an  apothecary's  bill, 
were  equal  objects  of  aversion  to  Mr.  Elwes. 
The  words  "give"  and  "pay"  were  not  found  in 
his  vocabulary;  and  therefore,  when  he  once  re- 
ceived a  very  dangerous  kick  from  one  of  his  horses, 

60  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

who  fell  in  going  over  a  leap,  nothing  could  per- 
suade him  to  have  any  assistance.  He  rode  the 
chase  through,  with  his  leg  cut  to  the  bone ;  and 
it  was  only  some  days  afterwards,  when  it  was 
feared  an  amputation  would  be  necessary,  that 
he  consented  to  go  up  to  London,  and,  dismal 
day!  part  with  some  money  for  advice. 

The  whole  fox-hunting'  establishment  of  Mr. 
Elwes,  huntsman,  dogs,  and  horses,  did  not  cost 
him  three  hundred  pounds  a  year ! 

AVhile  he  kept  hounds,  and  which  consumed  a 
period  of  nearly  fourteen  years,  Mr.  Elwes  almost 
totally  resided  at  Stoke,  in  Suffolk.  He  sometimes 
made  excursions  to  Newmarket ;  but  never  enga- 
ged on  the  turf.  A  kindness,  however  which  he 
performed  there,  should  not  pass  into  oblivion. 

Lord  Abingdon,  who  was  slightly  known  to 
Mr.  Elwes  in  Berkshire,  had  made  a  match  for 
seven  thousand  pounds,  which,  it  was  supposed^ 
he  would  be  obliged  to  forfeit,  from  an  inability 
to  produce  the  sum,  though  the  odds  were  great- 
ly in  his  favour.  Unasked,  unsolicited,  Mr. 
Elwes  made  him  an  offer  of  the  money,  which 
he  accepted,  and  won  his  engagement. 

On  the  day  when  this  match  was  to  be  run,  a 
clergyman  had  agreed  to  accompany  Mr.  Elwes  to 
see  the  fate  of  it.  They  were  to  go,  as  was  his  cus- 
tom, on  horseback,  and  were  to  set  out  at  seven  in 
the  morning.  Imagining  they  were  to  breakfast  at 
Newmarket,  the  gentleman  took  no  refreshment, 
and  away  they  went.  They  reached  Newmarket 
about  eleven,  and  Mr.  Elwes  began  to  busy  him- 
self in  inquiries  and  conversation  till  twelve,  when 
the  match  was  decided  in  favour  of  Lord  Abing- 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  61 

don.  He  then  thought  they  should  move  off  to 
the  town,  to  take  some  breakfast;  but  old  Elvves 
still  continued  riding  about  till  three;  and  then 
four  arrived.  At  which  time  the  gentleman  grew 
so  impatient,  that  he  mentioned  something  of  the 
keen  air  of  Newmarket  Heath,  and  the  comforts  of 
a  good  dinner.  "Very  true,"  said  old  Elwes; 
"very  true.  So  here,  do  as  I  do;" — offering  him  at 
the  same  time,  from  his  great-coat  pocket,  a  piece 
of  an  old  crushed  pancake,  "which,"  he  said,  "he 
had  brought  from  his  house  at  Marcharn  two 
months  before — but  that  it  was  as  good  as  new." 

The  sequel  of  the  story  was,  that  they  did  not 
reach  home  till  nine  in  the  evening,  when  the 
gentleman  was  so  tired,  that  he  gave  up  all  re- 
freshment but  rest ;  and  old  Mr.  Elwes,  having 
hazarded  seven  thousand  pounds  in  the  morning, 
went  happily  to  bed  with  the  reflection — that 
he  had  saved  three  shillings. 

He  had  brought  with  him  his  two  sons  out  of 
Berkshire ;  and  certainly,  if  he  liked  any  thing, 
it  was  these  boys.  But  no  money  would  he  la- 
vish on  their  education;  for  he  declared  that 
"  putting  things  into  people's  heads,  was  taking 
money  out  of  their  pockets." 

From  this  mean,  and  almost  ludicrous,  desire 
of  saving,  no  circumstance  of  tenderness  or  affec- 
tion, no  sentiment  of  sorrow  or  compassion,  could 
turn  him  aside.  The  more  diminutive  the  object 
seemed,  his  attention  grew  the  greater:  and  it  ap- 
peared as  if  Providence  had  formed  him  in  a  mould 
that  was  miraculous,  purposely  to  exemplify  that 
trite  saying  Penny  wise,  and  pound  foolish. 

62  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq* 

From  the  parsimonious  manner  in  which  Mr. 
Elwes  now  lived,  (for  he  was  fast  following  the 
footsteps  of  Sir  Harvey,)  and  from  the  two  large 
fortunes  of  which  he  was  in  possession,  riches  roll- 
ed in  upon  him  like  a  torrent.  But  as  he  knew 
almost  nothing  of  accounts,  and  never  reduced  his 
affairs  to  writing,  he  was  obliged,  in  the  disposal 
of  his  money,  to  trust  much  to  memory;  to  the 
suggestions  of  other  people  still  more ;  hence  eve- 
ry person  who  had  a  want  or  a  scheme,  with  an 
apparent  high  interest — adventurer  or  honest,  it 
signified  not — all  was  prey  to  him ;  and  he  swam 
about  like  the  enormous  pike,  which,  ever  vora- 
cious and  unsatisfied,  catches  at  every  thing,  till 
it  is  itself  caught!  hence  are  to  be  reckoned  vi- 
sions of  distant  property  in  America;  phantoms 
of  annuities  on  lives  that  could  never  pay;  and 
bureaus  filled  with  bonds  of  promising  peers  and 
members  long  dismembered  of  all  property.  Mr. 
Elwes  lost  in  this  manner  full  one  hundred  and 
fifty  thousand  pounds  ! 

But  what  was  got  from  him,  was  only  obtained 
from  his  want  of  knowledge — by  knowledge  that 
was  superior;  and  knaves  and  sharpers  might 
have  lived  upon  him,  while  poverty  and  honesty 
would  have  starved. 

When  this  inordinate  passion  for  saving  did  not 
interfere,  there  are  upon  record  some  kind  offices, 
and  very  active  services,  undertaken  by  Mr.  Elwes. 
He  would  go  far  and  long  to  serve  those  who  ap- 
plied to  him :  and  give— however  strange  the  word 
from  him — give  himself  great  trouble  to  be  of  use. 
These  instances  are  gratifying  to  select — it  is 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  63 

plucking  the  sweet-briar  and  the  rose  from  the 
weeds  that  overspread  the  garden. 

Mr  Elwes,  at  this  period,  was  passing — among 
his  horses  and  hounds,  some  rural  occupations,  and 
hiscountry  neighbours — thehappiest  hours  of  his 
life — where  he  forgot,  for  a  time,  at  least,  that 
strange  anxiety  and  continued  irritation  about  his 
money,  which  might  be  called  the  insanity  of  sav- 
ing! But  as  his  wealth  was  accumulating,  many 
were  kind  enough  to  make  applications  to  employ 
it  for  him.  Some  very  obligingly  would  trouble 
him  with  nothing  more  than  their  simple  lond : 
others  offered  him  a  scheme  of  great  advantage, 
with  "  a  small  risk  and  a  certain  profit,"  which 
as  certainly  turned  out  to  the  reverse;  and  others 
proposed  "  tracts  of  land  in  America,  and  plans 
that  were  sure  of  success."  But  amidst  these  kind 
offers,  the  fruits  of  which  Mr.  Elwes  long  felt,  and 
had  to  lament,  some  pecuniary  accommodations, 
at  a  moderate  interest,  were  not  bestowed  amiss, 
and  enabled  the  borrowers  to  pursue  industry 
into  fortune,  and  form  a  settlement  for  life. 

Mr.  Elwes,  from  Mr.  Meggot,  his  father,  had 
inherited  some  property  inLondon  in  houses;  par- 
ticularly about  the  Haymarket,  not  far  from  which 
old  Mr.  Elwes  drew  his  first  breath ;  being  born 
in  St.  James's  parish.  To  this  property  he  began 
now  to  add,  by  engagements  with  one  of  the  A  dam's 
about  building,  which  he  increased  from  year  to 
year  to  a  very  large  extent.  Great  part  of  Mary- 
bone  soon  called  him  her  founder.  Portman  Place, 
and  Portman  Square,  the  riding-houses  and  stables 
of  the  second  troop  of  life-guards,  and  buildings 

64  The  Life  of  John  £  lives,  Esq. 

too  numerous  to  name,  all  rose  out  of  his  pocket; 
and  had  not  the  fatal  American  war  kindly  put  a 
stop  to  his  rage  of  raising  houses,  much  of  the 
property  he  then  possessed  would  have  been  laid 
out  in  bricks  and  mortar. 

The  extent  of  his  property  in  this  way  soon 
grew  so  great,  that  he  became,  from  judicious  cal- 
culation, his  own  insurer:  and  he  stood  to  all  his 
losses  by  conflagrations.  He  soon  therefore  be- 
came a  philosopher  upon  fire:  and,  on  a  public- 
house  belonging  to  him  being  consumed,  he  said, 
with  great  composure,  "  well,  well,  there  is  no 

freat  harm  done.     The  tenant  never  paid  me,  and 
should  not  have  got  quit  of  him  so  quickly  in 
any  other  way." 

It  was  the  custom  of  Mr.  Elwes,  whenever  he 
went  to  London,  to  occupy  any  of  his  premises 
which  might  happen  to  be  then  vacant.  He  tra- 
velled in  this  manner  from  street  to  street ;  and 
whenever  any  body  chose  to  take  the  house  where 
he  was,  he  was  instantly  ready  to  move  into  any 
other.  He  was  frequently  an  itinerant  for  a  night's 
lodging;  and  thought  master  of  above  a  hundred 
houses,  he  never  wished  to  rest  his  head  long  in 
any  he  chose  to  call  his  own.  A  couple  of  beds, 
a  coupie  of  chairs,  a  table,  and  an  old  woman, 
comprised  all  his  furniture;  and  he  moved  them 
in  about  a  minute's  warning.  Of  all  these  move- 
ables,  the  old  woman  was  the  only  one  which  gave 
him  trouble  ;  for  she  was  afflicted  with  a  lameness, 
that  made  it  difficult  to  get  her  about  quite  so  fast 
as  he  chose.  And  then  the  colds  she  took  were 
amazing;  for  sometimes  she  was  in  a  small  house 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  65 

in  the  Haymarket ;  at  another  in  a  great  house  in 
Portland  Place:  sometimes  in  a  little  room,  and 
a  coal  fire  ;  at  other  times  with  a  few  chips,  which 
the  carpenters  had  left,  in  rooms  of  most  splendid, 
but  frigid  dimensions,  and  with  a  little  oiled  paper 
in  the  windows  for  glass, 

Mr.  Elwes  had  come  to  town  in  his  usual  way, 
and  taken  up  his  abode  in  one  of  his  houses  that 
was  empty.  Colonel  Timms,  who  wished  much 
to  see  him,  by  some  accident,  was  informed  his 
uncle  was  in  London;  but  then  how  to  find  him 
was  the  difficulty.  He  inquired  at  all  the  usual 
places  where  it  was  probable  he  might  he  heard  of. 
He  went  to  Mr.  Hoare's,  his  banker;  to  the  Mount 
Coffee-house;  but  no  tidings  were  to  be  heard  of 
him.  Not  many  days  afterwards,  however,  he 
learnt,  from  a  person  whom  he  met  accidentally, 
that  they  had  seen  Mr,  Elwes  going  into  an  unin- 
habited house  in  Great  Marlborough  Street.  This 
was  some  clue  to  Colonel  Timais,  and  away  he 
went  thither.  As  the  best  mode  of  information, 
he  got  hold  of  a  chairman;  but  no  intelligence 
could  he  gain  of  a  gentleman  called  Mr.  Elwes. 
Colonel  Timms  then  described  his  person — but  no 
gentleman  had  been  seen.  A  pot-boy,  however, 
recollected,  that  he  had  seen  a  poor  old  man  open- 
ing the  door  of  the  stable,  and  locking  it  after  him, 
and  from  every  description,  it  agreed  with  the  per- 
son of  old  Mr.  Elwes.  Of  course,  Colonel  Timms, 
went  to  the  house.  He  knocked  very  loudly  at 
the  door;  but  no  one  answered.  Some  of  the 
neighbours  said  they  had  seen  such  a  man;  but  no 
answer  could  be  obtained  from  the  house.  The 

oVj  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

Colonel,  on  this,  resolved  to  have  the  stable-door 
opened;  which  being  done,  they  entered  the  house 
together.  In  the  lower  parts  of  it  all  was  shut  and 
silent;  but,  on  ascending  the  stair-case,  they  heard 
the  moans  of  a  person  seemingly  in  distress.  They 
went  to  the  chamber,  and  there,  upon  an  old 
pallet-bed,  lay  stretched  out,  seemingly  in  the 
agonies  of  death  the  figure  of  old  Mr.  Elwes. 

For  some  time  he  seemed  insensible  that  any  body 
was  near  him  ;  but  on  some  cordials  being  admi- 
nistered by  a  neighbouring  apothecary,  who  was 
sent  for,  he  recovered  enough  to  say,  "  That  he 
had,  he  believed,  been  ill  for  two  or  three  days, 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  6? 
and  that  there  was  an  old  woman  in  the  house ; 
but  for  some  reason  or  other  she  had  not  been  near 
him.  That  she  had  been  ill  herself;  but  that  she 
had  got  well,  he  supposed,  and  was  gone  away." 

They  afterwards  found  the  old  woman — the 
companion  of  all  his  movements,  and  the  partner 
of  all  his  journeys — stretched  out  lifeless  on  a  rug 
upon  the  floor,  in  one  of  the  garrets.  She  had 
been  dead,  to  all  appearance,  about  two  days. 

Thus  died  the  servant ;  and  thus  would  have 
died,  but  for  a  providential  discovery  of  him  by 
Colonel  Timms,  old  Mr.  Elwes,  her  master !  His 
mother,  Mrs.  Meggot,  who  possessed  one  hundred 
thousand  pounds,  starved  herself  to  death ;  and  her 
son,  who  certainly  was  then  worth  half  a  million, 
nearly  died  in  his  own  house  for  absolute  want. 

Mr.  Elwes,  however,  was  not  a  hard  landlord, 
and  his  tenants  lived  easily  under  him :  but  if  they 
wanted  any  repairs,  they  were  always  at  liberty  to 
do  them  for  themselves ;  for  what  may  be  styled 
the  comforts  of  a  house  were  unknown  to  him. 
What  he  allowed  not  himself  it  could  scarcely  be 
expected  he  would  give  to  others. 

He  had  resided  about  thirteen  years  in  Suffolk, 
when  the  contest  for  Berkshire  presented  itself  on 
the  dissolution  of  parliament;  and  when,  to  pre- 
serve the  peace  of  that  county,  he  was  nominated 
by  Lord  Craven.  To  this  Mr.  Elwes  consented ; 
but  on  the  special  agreement,  that  he  was  to  be 
brought  in  for  nothing.  All  he  did  was  dining  at 
the  ordinary  at  Abingdon ;  and  he  got  into  parlia- 
ment for  the  moderate  sum  of  eighteen-pence  / 
Mr.  Elwes  was  at  this  time  nearly  sixty  years 

68  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

old,  but  was  in  possession  of  all  his  activity.  Pre- 
paratory to  his  appearance  on  the  boards  of  Sc. 
Stephen's  Chapel,  he  used  to  attend  constantly, 
during  the  races  and  other  public  meetings,  all 
the  great  towns  where  his  voters  resided;  and  at 
the  different  assemblies  he  would  dance  with 
agility  amongst  the  youngest  to  the  last. 

Mr.  Elwes  was  chosen  for  Berkshire  in  three 
successive  parliaments:  and  he  sat  as  a  member 
of  the  House  of  Commons  above  twelve  years. 
It  is  to  his  honour,  that,  in  every  part  of  his  con- 
duct, and  in  every  vote  he  gave,  he  proved  himself 
to  be  an  independent  country  gentleman. 

The  honour  of  parliament  made  no  alteration 
in  the  dress  of  Mr.  Elwes:  on  the  contrary,  it 
seemed,  at  this  time,  to  have  attained  additional 
meanness,  and  nearly  to  have  reached  that  happy 
climax  of  poverty,  which  has,  more  than  once, 
drawn  on  him  the  compassion  of  those  who  passed 
him  in  the  street.  For  the  Speaker's  dinners,  he 
had  indeed  one  suit ;  with  which  the  Speaker,  in 
the  course  of  the  session,  became  very  familiar. 
The  minister,  likewise,  was  well  acquainted  with 
it :  and  at  any  dinner  of  opposition,  still  was  his 
apparel  the  same.  The  wits  of  the  minority  used 
to  say,  "  that  they  had  full  as  much  reason  as  the 
minister  to  be  satisfied  with  Mr.  Elwes — as  he  had 
the  same  habit  with  every  body  1"  At  this  period 
of  his  life,  Mr.  Elwes  wore  a  wig.  Much  about 
that  time,  when  his  parliamentary  life  ceased,  that 
wig  was  worn  out :  so  then  (being  older  and  wiser 
as  to  expense)  he  wore  his  own  hair ;  which,  like 
bis  expenses,  was  very  small. 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  69 

He  retired  voluntarily  from  a  parliamentary  life, 
and  even  took  no  leave  of  his  constituents  by  an 
advertisement.  But,  though  Mr.  Elwes  was  now 
no  longer  a  member  of  the  House  of  Commons, 
yet,  not  with  the  venal  herd  of  expectant  placemen 
and  pensioners,  whose  eyes  too  often  view  the 
House  of  Commons  as  another  Royal  Exchange, 
did  Mr.  Ehves  retire  into  private  life  No ;  he 
had  fairly  and  honourably,  attentively  and  long, 
done  his  duty  there,  and  he  had  so  done  it  without 
te  fee  or  reward."  In  all  his  parliamentary  life,  he 
never  asked  or  received  a  single  favour ;  and  he 
never  gave  a  vote,  but  he  could  solemnly  have  laid 
his  hand  upon  his  breast,  and  said,  '*  So  help  me 
God !  I  believe  I  am  doing  what  is  for  the  best !" 

Thus,  duly  honoured,  shall  the  memory  of  a 
good  man  go  to  his  grave :  for,  while  it  may  be 
the  painful  duty  of  the  biographer  to  present  to  the 
public  the  pitiable  follies  which  may  deform  a  cha- 
racter, but  which  must  be  given  to  render  perfect 
the  resemblance  on  those  beauties  which  arise 
from  the  bad  parts  of  the  picture,  who  shall  say, 
it  is  not  a  duty  to  expiate? 

The  model  which  Mr.  Elwes  left  to  future 
members  may,  perhaps,  be  looked  on  rather  as  a 
work  to  wonder  at  than  to  follow,  even  under  the 
most  virtuous  of  administrations.  Mr.  Elwes  came 
into  Parliament  without  expense,  and  he  perform- 
ed his  duty  as  a  member  would  have  done  in  the 
pure  days  of  our  constitution.  What  he  had  not 
bought,  he  never  attempted  to  sell ;  and  he  went 
forward  in  that  straight  and  direct  path,  whichcan 
alone  satisfy  a  reflecting  and  good  mind.  In  one 

TO  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

word,  Mr.  Elwes,  as  a  public  man,  voted  and  act- 
ed in  the  House  of  Commons,  as  a  man  would 
do  who  felt  there  were  people  to  live  after  him, 
who  wished  to  deliver  unmortgaged  to  his  child- 
ren the  public  estate  of  government;  and  who 
felt,  that  if  he  suffered  himself  to  become  a  pen- 
sioner on  it,  he  thus  far  embarrassed  his  posterity, 
and  injured  their  inheritance. 

When  his  son  was  in  the  Guards,  he  was  fre- 
quently in  the  habit  of  diningatthe  officers' table 
there.  The  politeness  of  his  manner  rendered  him 
generally  agreeable,  and  in  time  he  became  ac- 
quainted with  eveiy  officer  in  the  corps.  Amongst 
the  rest,  was  a  gentleman  of  the  name  of  Tempest, 
whose  good  humour  was  almost  proverbial.  A 
vacancy  happening  in  a  majority,  it  fell  to  this 
gentleman  to  purchase;  but  as  money  is  not  al- 
ways to  be  got  upon  landed  property  immediately, 
it  wras  imagined  that  some  officer  would  have  been 
obliged  to  purchase  over  his  head.  Old  Mr. 
Elwes  hearing  of  the  circumstance,  sent  him  the 
money  the  next  morning,  without  asking  any  se- 
curity. He  had  seen  Captain  Tempest,  and 
liked  his  manners;  and  he  never  once  afterwards 
talked  to  him  about  the  payment  of  it.  But  on 
the  death  of  Captain  Tempest,  which  happened 
shortly  after,  the  money  was  replaced. 

This  was  an  act  of  liberality  in  Mr,  Eiwes 
which  ought  to  atone  for  many  of  his  failings.  But 
be  -old  the  inequalities  which  so  strongly  mark  this  being'  Mr.  Spurling,  of  Dynes-Hall,  a 
ve:  j>  a. live  and  intelligent  magistrate  for  the  coun- 
ty oi  Essex,  was  once  requested  by  Mr.  Elwes  to 

The  Lift  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  71 

accompany  him  to  Newmarket.  It  was  a  day  in 
one  of  the  spring  meetings  which  was  remarkably 
filled  with  races ;  and  they  were  out  from  six  in 
themorningtill  eighto'clock  in  the  evening  before 
they  again  set  out  for  home.  Mr.  Elwes,  in  the 
usual  way,  would  eat  nothing;  but  Mr.  Spurling 
was  somewhat  wiser,  and  went  down  to  Newmar- 
ket. When  they  began  their  journey  home,  the 
evening  was  grown  very  dark  and  cold,  and  Mr. 
Spurling  rode  on  somewhat  quicker;  but  on  go- 
ing through  the  turnpike  by  the  Devil's  Ditch,  he 
heard  Mr.  Elwes  calling  to  him  with  great  eager- 
ness. On  returning  before  he  had  paid ,  Mr.  Elwes 
said,  "Here!  here!  follow  me — this  is  the  best 
road!"  In  an  instant  he  saw  Mr.  Elwes,  as  well  as 
the  night  would  permit, climbing  his  horse  up  the 
precipice  of  the  ditch.  "  Sir,"  said  Mr.  Spurling, 
"  I  can  never  get  up  there.'*  "  No  danger  at  all !" 
replied  old  Elwes :  "  but  if  your  horse  be  not  safe, 
lead  him !"  At  length,  with  great  difficulty,  and 
with  one  of  the  horses  falling,  they  mounted  the 
ditch,  and  then,  with  not  less  toil  got  down  on  the 
other  side.  When  they  were  safely  landed  on  the 
plain,  Mr.  Spurling  thanked  heaven  for  their  es- 
cape. "  Ay,"  said  old  Elwes,  "  you  mean  from 
theturnpifce:  very  right;  never  pay  a  turnpike  if 
you  can  avoid  it!"  In  proceeding  on  their  jour- 
ney, they  came  to  a  very  narrow  road :  on  which 
Mr.  Elwes,  notwithstanding  the  cold,  went  as  slow 
as  possible.  On  Mr.  Spurling  wishing  to  quicken 
their  pace,  old  Elwes  observed,  that  he  was  let- 
ting his  horse  feed  on  some  hay  that  was  hanging 
to  the  sides  of  the  hedge.  "  Besides,"  added  he, 
"  it  is  nice  hay,  and  you  have  it  for  nothing!" 

72  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

Thus,  while  endangering  his  neck  to  save  the 
payment  of  a  turnpike,  and  starving  his  horse 
tor  a  halfpenny-worth  of  hay,  was  he  risking  the 
sum  of  twenty-jive  thousand  pounds  on  some  iron 
works  across  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  and  of  which 
he  knew  nothing,  either  as  to  produce,  prospect 
or  situation. 

In  the  advance  of  the  season,  his  morning  em- 
ployment was  to  pick  up  any  stray  chips,  bones, 
orotber  things,  to  carry  to  the  fire,  in  his  pocket; 
and  he  was  one  day  surprised  by  a  neighbouring 
gentleman  in  the  act  of  pulling  down,  with  some 
difficulty,  a  crow's  nest,  fcr  this  purpose. 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  73 

On  the  gentleman  wondering  why  he  gave  himself 
this  trouble, 

"  Oh,  Sir/'  replied  he,  "  it  is  really  a  shame 
that  these  creatures  should  do  so.  Do  but  see 
what  waste  they  make!" 

To  save,  as  he  thought,  the  expense  of  going  to 
a  butcher,  he  would  have  a  whole  sheep  killed, 
and  so  eat  mutton  to  the— end  of  the  chapter. 
When  he  occasionally  had  his  river  drawn,  though 
sometimes  horse-loads  of  small  fish  were  taken, 
not  one  would  he  suffer  to  be  thrown  in  again, 
for  he  observed,  ff  He  should  never  see  them 
more  !"  Game  in  the  last  state  of  putrefaction, 
and  meat  that  walked  about  his  plate,  would  he 
continue  to  eat,  rather  than  have  new  things  killed 
before  the  old  provision  was  exhausted. 

When  any  friends,  who  might  occasionally  be 
with  him,  were  absent,  he  would  carefully  put  out 
his  own  fire,  and  walk  to  the  house  of  a  neighbour; 
and  thus  make  one  fire  serve  both.  His  shoes  he 
never  would  suffer  to  be  cleaned,  lest  they  should 
be  worn  out  the  sooner.  But  still,  with  all  this 
self-denial — that  penury  of  life  to  which  the  inha- 
bitant of  an  alms-house  is  not  doomed — still  did 
he  think  he  was  profuse ;  and  frequently  said,  <{  he 
must  be  a  little  more  careful  ot  his  property.' ' 
When  he  went  to  bed,  he  would  put  five  or  ten 
guineas  into  a  bureau,  and  then,  full  of  his  money, 
after  he  had  retired  to  rest,  sometimes  in  the  mid- 
dle of  the  night,  he  would  come  down  to  see  if  it 
was  safe.  The  irritation  of  his  mind  was  unceas- 
ing. He  thought  every  body  extravagant ;  and 
when  a  person  was  talking  to  him  one  day  of  the 


74  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

great  wealth  of  old  Mr.  Jennings,  (who  is  sup- 
posed to  be  worth  a  million,}  and  that  they  had 
seen  him  that  day  in  a  new  carriage,  "  Ay,  ay," 
said  old  Elwes ;  "  he  will  soon  see  the  end  of 
his  money !" 

Mr.  Elwes  now  denied  himself  every  thing, 
except  the  common  necessaries  of  life ;  and,  in- 
deed, it  might  have  admitted  a  doubt,  whether 
or  not,  if  his  manors,  his  fish-ponds,  and  grounds 
in  his  own  hands,  had  not  furnished  a  subsistence, 
where  he  had  not  any  thing  actually  to  buy,  he 
would  not,  rather  than  have  bought  any  thing, 
have  starved.  He  one  day,  during  this  period, 
dined  upon  the  remaining  part  of  a  moor-hen, 
which  had  been  brought  out  of  the  river  by  a  rat! 
and,  at  another,  ate  an  undigested  part  of  a  pike, 
which  a  larger  one  had  swallowed,  but  had  not 
finished,  and  which  was  taken  in  this  state  in  a 
net!  At  the  time  this  last  circumstance  hap- 
pened, he  discovered  a  strange  kind  of  satisfac- 
tion ;  for  he  said  to  Capt.  Topham,  who  happened 
to  be  present,  "Ay!  this  is  killing  two  birds 
with  one  stone !"  Mr.  Eiwes,  at  this  time,  was 
perhaps  worth  nearly  800,0001.  and  at  this  period 
he  had  not  made  his  will,  of  course  was  not  saving 
from  any  sentiment  of  affection  for  any  person. 

As  he  had  now  vested  the  enormous  savings 
of  his  property  in  the  funds,  he  felt  no  diminu- 
tion of  it. 

Mr.  Elwes  passed  the  spring  of  1786  alone,  at 
his  solitary  house  at  Stoke ;  and,  had  it  not  been 
for  some  little  daily  scheme  of  avarice,  wtitild 
have  passed  it  without  one  consolatory  moment. 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  7* 
His  temper  began  to  give  way  apace ;  his 
thoughts  unceasingly  ran  upon  money!  money! 
money! — and  he  saw  no  one  but  whom  he  ima- 
gined was  deceiving  and  defrauding  him. 

As,  in  the  day,  he  would  not  allow  himself  any 
fire,  he  went  to  bed  as  soon  as  day  closed,  to  save 
candle ;  and  had  begun  to  deny  himself  even  the 
pleasure  of  sleeping  in  sheets.  In  short,  he  had 
now  nearly  brought  to  a  climax  the  moral  of  his 
whole  life — the  perfect  vanity  of  wealth  ! 

On  removing  from  Stoke,  he  \vent  to  his  farm- 
house at  Thaydon  Hall;  a  scene  of  more  ruin  and 
desolation,  if  possible,  than  either  of  his  houses  in 
Suffolk  or  Berkshire.  It  stood  alone,  on  the  bor- 
ders of  Epping  Forest;  and  an  old  man  and  wo- 
man, his  tenants,  were  the  only  persons  with 
whom  he  could  hold  any  converse.  Here  he  fell 
ill ;  and,  as  he  would  have  no  assistance,  and  had 
not  even  a  servant,  he  lay,  unattended,  and  almost 
forgotten,  for  nearly  a  fortnight — indulging,  even 
in  death,  that  avarice  which  malady  could  not 
subdue.  It  was  at  this  period  he  began  to  think  of 
making  his  will;  feeling,  perhaps,  that  his  sons 
would  not  be  entitled,  by  law,  to  any  part  of  his 
property,  should  he  die  intestate :  and,  on  coming 
to  London,  he  made  his  last  will  and  testament. 

Mr.  Elwes,  shortly  after  executing  his  will, 
gave,  by  letter  of  attorney,  the  power  of  ma- 
naging, receiving,  and  paying  all  his  monies,  into 
the  hands  of  Mr.  Ingraham,  his  lawyer,  and  his 
youngest  son,  John  Elwes,  Esq.  who  had  been 
his  chief  agents  for  some  time. 

Nor  was  the  act  by  any  means  improper.  The 

76  The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

lapses  of  his  memory  had  now  become  frequent 
and  glaring.  All  recent  occurrences  he  forgot  en- 
tirely ;  and  as  he  never  committed  any  thing  to 
writing,  the  confusion  he  made  was  inexpressible. 
As  an  instance  of  this,  the  following  anecdote  may 
serve.  He  had  one  evening  given  a  draft  on 
Messrs.  Hoares,  his  bankers,  for  twenty  pounds; 
and  having  taken  it  into  his  head,  during  the  night, 
that  he  had  over-drawn  his  account,  his  anxiety 
was  unceasing.  He  left  his  bed,  and  walking  about 
his  room  with  that  little  feverish,  irritation  that 
always  distinguished  him,  waited  with  the  utmost 
impatience  till  morning  came,  when,  on  going  to 
his  banker,  with  an  apology  for  the  great  liberty  he 
had  taken,  he  was  assured  iherc  was  no  occasion 
for  his  apology,  as  he  happened  to  have  in  their 
hands,  at  that  lime,  the  small  sum  of  fourteen 
thousand  seven  hundred  pounds  ! 

Mr.  Elwes  passed  the  summer  of  1788  at  his 
house  in  Wei  beck-Street,  London,  without  any 
other  society  than  that  of  two  maid  servants;  for 
he  had  now  given  up  the  expense  of  keeping  any 
male  domestic.  His  chief  employment  used  to  be 
that  of  getting  up  early  in  the  morning  to  visit  his 
houses  in  Marybone,  which  during  the  summer 
were  repairing.  As  he  was  there  generally  at  four 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  he  was  of  course  on  the 
spot  before  the  workmen  ;  and  he  used  content- 
edly to  sit  down  on  the  steps  before  the  door  to 
scold  them  when  they  did  come.  The  neighbours, 
who  used  to  see  him  appear  thus  regularly  every 
morning,  and  who  concluded,  from  his  apparel,  he 
was  one  of  the  workmen,  observed,  "  there  never 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  77 

was  so  punctual  a  man  as  the  old  carpenter." 
During  the  whole  morning  he  would  continue  to 
run  up  and  down  stairs,  to  see  the  men  were  not 
idle  for  an  instant,  with  the  same  anxiety  as  if  his 
whole  happiness  in  life  had  been  centred  in  the 
finishing  this  house,  regardless  of  the  greater  pro- 
perty he  had  at  stake  in  various  places,  and  for 
ever  employed  in  the  minutiae  only  of  affairs. 
Indeed,  such  was  his  anxiety  about  this  house, 
the  rent  of  which  was  not  above  fifty  pounds  a 
year,  that  it  brought  on  a  fever,  which  nearly  cost 
him  his  life. 

In  the  muscular  and  unincumbered  frame  of  Mr. 
Elwes,  there  was  every  thing  that  promised  extreme 
length  of  life ;  and  he  lived  to  above  seventy 
years  of  age  without  any  natural  disorder  attack- 
ing him  :  but,  as  Lord  Bacon  has  well  observed, 
"  the  minds  of  some  men  are  a  lamp  that  is  con- 
tinually burning ;"  and  such  was  the  mind  of  Mr. 
Elwes.  Removed  from  those  occasional  public 
avocations  which  had  once  engaged  his  attention, 
money  was  now  his  only  thought.  He  rose  upon 
money  ;  upon  money  he  lay  down  to  rest;  and  as 
his  capacity  sunk  away  from  him  by  degrees,  he 
dwindled  from  the  real  cares  of  his  property  into 
the  puerile  concealment  of  a  few  guineas.  This 
little  store  he  would  carefully  wrap  up  in  various 
papers,  and  depositing  them  in  different  corners, 
would  amuse  himself  with  running  from  one  to  the 
other,  to  see  whether  they  were  all  safe.  Then 
forgetting,  perhaps,  where  he  had  concealed  some 
of  them,  he  would  become  as  seriously  afflicted  as 
a  man  might  be  who  had  lost  all  his  property, 

78  The  Li/e  of  John  Elwes,  Esq. 

Nor  was  the  day  alone  thus  spent:  he  would 
frequently  rise  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  and 
be  heard  walking  about  different  parts  of  the 
house,  looking  after  what  he  had  thus  hidden 
and  forgotten. 

It  was  at  this  period,  and  at  seventy-six  years 
old,  or  upwards,  that  Mr.  Elwes  began  to  feel, 
for  the  first  time,  some  bodily  infirmities  from 
age.  He  now  experienced  occasional  attacks 
from  the  gout :  on  which,  with  his  usual  perse- 
verance, and  with  all  his  accustomed  antipathy 
to  apothecaries,  and  their  bills,  he  would  set  out 
to  walk  as  far  and  as  fast  as  he  could.  While 
he  was  engaged  in  this  painful  mode  of  cure,  he 
frequently  lost  himself  in  the  streets,  the  names 
of  which  he  no  longer  remembered,  and  was  as 
frequently  brought  home  by  some  errand-boy,  or 
stranger,  of  whom  he  had  inquired  his  way.  On 
these  occasions  he  would  bow  and  thank  them,  at 
the  door,  with  great  civility ;  but  never  indulged 
them  with  a  sight  of  the  inside  of  the  house. 

During  the  winter  of  1789,  the  last  winter 
Mr.  Elwes  was  fated  to  see,  his  memory  visibly 
weakened  every  day;  and,  from  his  unceasing 
wish  to  save  money,  he  now  began  to  apprehend 
he  should  die  in  want  of  it  Mr.  Gibson  had  been 
appointed  his  builder  in  the  room  of  Mr.  Adam ; 
and  one  day,  when  this  gentleman  waited  upon 
him,  he  said,  with  apparent  concern,  "  Sir,  pray 
consider  in  what  a  wretched  state  I  am ;  you  see 
in  what  a  good  house  I  am  living ;  and  here  are 
five  guineas,  which  is  all  I  have  at  present ;  and 
how  I  shall  go  on  with  such  a  sum  of  money, 

The  Life  of  John  Elwes,  Esq.  79 

puzzles  me  to  death — I  dare  say  you  thought  I 
was  rich ;  now  you  see  how  it  is !" 

The  first  symptoms  of  more  immediate  decay, 
was  his  inability  to  enjoy  his  rest  at  night.  Fre- 
quently would  he  be  heard  at  midnight  as  if  strug- 
gling with  some  one  in  his  chamber,  and  crying 
out,  "  I  will  keep  my  money,  I  will ;  nobody  shall 
rob  me  of  my  property !"  On  any  one  of  the  family 
going  into  his  room,  he  would  start  from  his  fever 
of  anxiety,  and,  as  if  wakened  from  a  troubled 
dream,  again  hurry  into  bed,  and  seem  unconsci- 
ous of  what  had  happened.  At  other  times,  when 
perfectly  awake,  he  would  walk  to  the  spot  where 
he  had  hidden  his  money,  to  see  if  it  was  safe. 

In  the  autumn  of  1789,  his  memory  was  gone 
entirely;  his  perception  of  things  was  decreasing 
very  rapidly;  and  as  the  mind  became  unsettled, 
gusts  of  the  mostviolent  passion  usurped  the  place 
of  his  former  command  of  temper.  For  six  weeks 
previous  to  his  death,  he  would  go  to  rest  in  his 
clothes,  as  perfectly  dressed  as  during  the  day. 
He  was  one  morning  found  fast  asleep  betwixt 
the  sheets,  with  his  shoes  on  his  feet,  his  stick  in 
his  hand,  and  an  old  torn  hat  upon  his  head. 

Mr.  Elwes,  on  the  18th  of  November,  1 789, 
discovered  signs  of  that  utter  and  total  weakness, 
which  carried  him  to  his  grave  in  eight  days. 
On  the  evening  of  the  first  day  he  was  conveyed 
to  bed — from  which  he  rose  no  more.  His  appe- 
tite was  gone.  He  had  but  a  faint  recollection 
of  any  thing  about  him ;  and  his  last  coherent 
words  were  addressed  to  his  son,  Mr.  John  Elwes, 
in  hoping  "  he  had  left  him  what  he  wished," 

80  The  Plying  Pye-man. 

On  the  morning  of  the  26th  of  November  he 

expired  without  a  sigh ! 

Thus  died  Mr.  Elwes,  the  most  perfect  model 
of  human  penury  which  has  been  presented  to 
the  public  for  a  long  series  of  years. 


THIS  person  is  well  known  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  Fleet-market,  daily  making  his  appear- 
ance there  as  the  vender  of  hot  pudding  and 

Thomas  Laugher.  81 

pies.  His  actions  and  language  are  superior  to 
the  common  way  of  those  people  who  follow  so 
humble  a  calling.  His  hair  is  mostly  powdered, 
his  dr^ss  is  extremely  clean,  and  even  genteel ; 
his  tongue  is  constantly  at  work,  and  his  voice 
strong.  He  moves  ™ith  astonishing  rapidity,  is 
followed  by  a  crowd,  and  enjoys  an  extensive 


Aged  109  Years. 

THOMAS  LAUGHER,  supposed  to  be  the  oldest 
man  now  living  in  England,  was  baptized  on  the 
6th  of  January  (old  style),  in  tiie  ye  r  1700,  at 
Markly,  Worcestershire:  he  no.v  resl  les  (June 
the 20th,  1809,)  .it  the  Park  coftee-nouse,  Worces- 
ter-street, South  wa.  ;  ."iseqdently  he  is  up- 
wards of  109  ye  i  •  s  his  lather  died  at  the 
age  of  97,  his  mo-  Lb  1 08,  -uid  his  son  at  80. 

When  King  W  «i'  i.ujj  yiiu.  Queen  Mary  died,  he 
was  a  little  boy :  hx-  very  <x-eii  remembers  Queen 
Anne  going  to  fhe  House  of  Peers,  1705,  on  horse- 
back, seated  on  a  pillion,  behind  the  Lord  Chan- 
cellor. He  says  he  was  formerly  a  wholesale  wine 
and  brandy  merchant  in  Tower-street,  and  that  he 
lost,  by  the  failure  of  the  house  of  Neele,  Fordyce 

82  Thomas  Laugher. 

and  James,  Bartholomew-lane,  the  sum  af 
^198,000 ;  and  that  the  sudden  loss  of  his  pro- 
perty took  such  an  effect  upon  him,  that  it  struck 
him  blind,  and  speechless,  and  caused  quantities 
of  skin  to  come  from  off  his  body.  He  was  edu- 
cated at  Christ's  College,  Oxford;  and,  after  a 
residence  of  eleven  years  and  a  half  at  that  place, 
he  took  a  tour  on  the  continent  of  Europe,  and 
visited  many  parts  of  Turkey,  in  which  he  re- 
sided upwards  of  seven  years. 

He  never  drank  strong  beer,  small  beer,  wine, 
or  spirits,  until  he  was  above  53  years  of  age. 
His  principal  sustenance  was  tea,  coffee,  bread 
and  spring  water.  He  never  ate  any  animal  food 
whatever,  nor  butter,  nor  cheese.  He  recollects 
the  quartern  loaf  at  2|d.,  primest  meat  at  Id. 
per  pound,  and  the  best  fresh  butter  at  2|d.  per 

His  grandmother  died  141  years  old,  and  she 
lived  upon  dry  bread  and  cold  pump  water.  This 
astonishing  man,  whose  looks  are  truly  venerable, 
is,  to  all  appearance,  strong  and  hearty,  and  seems 
likely  to  live  many  more  years;  and,  for  a  man  of 
his  great  age,  can  walk  about  extremely  well.  He 
rises  mostly  at  4  o'clock  in  the  morning,  takes  a 
long  walk  before  breakfast,  and  eats  and  drinks 
veiy  sparingly,  though  he  now  lives  upon  animal 
food  and  beer,  and  but  rarely,  if  ever,  drinks  any 
spirits,  except  for  their  proper  use. 

[Since  the  foregoing  account  was  written,  he  has  de- 
parted this  life,  in  the  year  1812.] 




Content  it  wealth,  the  riches  of  the  mind, 
And  happy  he  who  can  that  treasure  find; 
But  the  base  miser  starves  amidst  his  store, 
Broods  o'er  his  gold ,  and,  griping  still  for  more, 
Sits  sadly  pining,  and  believes  he's  poor. 


IT  is  presumed  by  philosophers,  that  the  most 
important  study  for  the  improvement  of  mankind 
is  MAN;  and  this  know  ledge  cannot  be  more  pro- 
fitably acquired,  than  in  perusing  those  true  ex- 
amples of  human  life,  recorded  in  the  vicissitudes 
and  incidents  which  biography  presents  impar- 
tially to  the  mind,  with  the  direction  of  truth  for 
their  application  to  the  purposes  of  our  own  lives 
and  actions,  for  imitation  or  abhorrence. 

In  this  view,  however  elevated  or  depressed  the 
hero  of  the  piece  may  be,  some  useful  instruction 
may  still  be  gained,  as  we  find  ourselves  more  or 
less  interested  in  his  transactions.  In  relating  the 
splendid  actions  of  ambitious  heroes,  little  is  of- 
fered that  can  be  adopted  or  imitated  by  the 
most  numerous  class  of  society ;  but  in  detailing 
the  events  concomitant  with  the  most  miserable 
penury,  alesson  is  produced  fraught  with  wisdom, 
the  chief  purport  of  which  is  to  show  in  what  esti- 
mation riches  are  in  the  eyes  of  God,  who  wisely  • 
and  equally  condems  to  human  distress,  the  mi- 
ser that  scrapes,  and  the  spendthrift  that  scatters, 


Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  85 

Avarice,  the  most  degrading  of  all  passions  to 
the  understanding,  and  the  most  deleterious  to  our 
happiness,  exhibits  a  humiliating  picture  of  hu- 
man nature,  and  most  impressively  illustrates  the 
undeniable  truth,  that  wealth  cannot  grant  ease  to 
its  possessor;  but,  on  the  contrary,  fills  him  with 
the  most  alarming  fears  for  the  safety  of  this 
imaginary  good,  and  naturally  suggests  the  most 
consolatory  reflection  to  forbearing  poverty ,whose 
unequal  share  in  the  distribution  of  wealth  is 
more  than  counterbalanced  by  the  comparison. 

With  this  view  is  here  presented  to  the  public, 
the  following  exact  particulars  of  the  most  re- 
markable instances  of  the  misery  which  is  ever 
attendant  upon  the  mind  cursed  with  the  insanity 
of  saving.  It  appears  by  the  parish  register,  that 
Mr.  Daniel  Dancer  was  born  in  the  year  1716, 
and  was  the  eldest  of  four  children,  three  sons  and 
a  daughter.  His  father  lived  on  Harrow- Weald 
Common,  near  Harrow  on  the  Hill,  where  he 
possessed  property  to  a  very  considerable  amount, 
and  which  his  son,  by  the  most  determined  and 
whimsical  abstemiousness,  increased  to  upwards 
of  three  thousand  pounds  per  annum. 

The  years  of  his  minority  probably  passed 
unnoticed,  as  nothing  is  recorded  of  him  in  his 
youth  that  might  indicate  the  singularity  and 
propensity  to  save,  which  so  peculiarly  distin- 
guished his  maturer  years ;  but  a  detail  of  his 
actions  is  now  offered  to  the  world,  as  the  most 
perfect  examples  of  saving  knoioledge,  and  how 
misery  may  be  multiplied  by  self-denial,  for  the 
purpose  of  accumulating  useless  riches. 

86  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

Mr.  Dancer,  as  before  observed,  had  a  sister, 
whose  disposition  to  reserve  perfectly  accorded 
with  his  own;  and,  as  they  lived  together  many 
years,  their  stories  are  necessarily  connected,  and 
will  furnish,  in  the  sequel,  the  most  melancholy 
and  degrading  instance  of  the  infirmity  and  folly 
of  human  nature. 

The  daily  appearance  of  this  lady  abroad,  when 
it  happened  that  necessity  or  condescension  drew 
her  out,  exhibited  the  most  perfect  resemblance 
of  one  of  the  witches  in  former  times :  for  it  is 
certain,  that  had  not  philosophy,  and  the  exten- 
sion of  knowledge,  long  ago  banished  the  belief 
in  witchcraft,  Miss  Dancer  had  certainly  been 
taken  up  by  the  witch-fmders,'and  most  probably 
burned  for  her  acquaintance  with  poverty,  which 
made  her  appear  in  such  a  questionable  form,  that 
even  the  sagacious  Matthew  Hopkins,  witch- 
hunter  to  King  James,  might  have  mistaken  this 
bundle  of  rags  for  a  correspondent  with  familiar 
spirits ;  for  her  appearance  might,  with  j  ustice,  be 
pronounced  not  to  be  of  this  fashionable  world. 

Here  accoutrements  were  usually  a  mixture  of 
male  with  female  paraphernalia,  tied  round  with  a 
raveling  of  hemp ;  for  even  in  this  part  of  attire 
she  studied  how  to  make  one  cord  last  long  by 
untwisting  it  to  make  it  go  farther ;  and,  thus 
equipped,  she  would  sally  forth,  armed  with  a 
broomstick  or  pitchfork,  to  check  the  progress 
of  such  daring  marauders  as  had  the  audacity  to 
intrude  upon  her  brother's  grounds;  on  which 
occasion  her  neighbours  observed  she  had  more 
the  appearance  of  a  walking  dunghill  than  one 
*f  the  fair  sex. 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  87 

The  miserable  hovel  in  which  this  parsimonious 
and  uniform  pair  took  up  their  earthly  residence 
was  perfectly  of  a  piece  with  themselves.  Like 
Drake's  ship,  it  had  suffered  so  much  by  repair, 
and  still  wanted  so  much,  that  a  bit  of  the  ori- 
ginal building  could  scarcely  be  distinguished  by 
the  most  diligent  antiquarian;  for  there  was  not 
one  article  of  moveables  which  can  be  mentioned, 
but  had,  at  one  time  or  another,  been  nailed  to 
some  part  of  the  mansion,  either  to  keep  out  the 
weather,  or,  which  Mr.  and  Miss  Dancer  deemed 
more  troublesome,theneihgbouring  feline  species, 
which,  strange  to  declare,  often  ventured  into  this 
house  of  famine,  lured,  no  doubt,  by  the  inviting 
scent  of  the  vermin  within,  some  of  which  species 
often  had  the  temerity  to  dispute  the  antiquity  of 
their  right  of  possession ;  for  it  cannot  be  sup- 
posed that  this  saving  pair  could  think  of  the 
extravagance  of  keeping  a  cat,  who  daily  denied 
themselves  the  natural  call  of  appetite. 

A  neighbour  going  in  one  day,  found  Mr. 
Dancer  pulling  some  nails  out  of  the  sides  of  his 
bellows ;  and,  upon  asking  him  the  reason,  he  re- 
plied, that  wanting  some  nails  to  fasten  a  piece 
of  leather  to  a  hole  which  time  had  effected  in 
the  boarding  of  the  house,  he  thought  he  could 
spare  some  out  of  this  useful  piece  of  furniture, 
which  would  save  buying;  observing,  that  un- 
dertakers, trunk -makers,  and  bellows -makers, 
were  the  most  extravagant  and  wasteful  fellows 
in  the  world  in  their  profusion  of  nails. 

Miss  Dancer's  disposition  exactly  corresponded 
with  his  own ;  and  she  lived,  or  rather  vegetated, 
H  2 

88  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

in  this  delightful  mansion,  winter  and  summer, 
making  each  season  ktep  pace  with  her  frugal 
maxims ;  for  out  of  a  little  she  had  learned  to 
sparej  as  extravagance  was  in  her  opinion  the 
most  unpardonable  fault. 

The  purpose  of  life  is  for  refinement  and  im- 
provement in  some  pursuit  or  other.  This  cou- 
ple only  lived  to  save  money,  therefore  every 
action  of  theirs  only  tended  to  the  accumula- 
tion of  wealth  ;  and  it  was  a  long  time  before 
they  had  arrived  at  the  summit  of  the  ART  of 
SAVING,  by  absolutely  denying  themselves  re- 
gular repasts,  however  coarse  in  qualitv,  or 
scanty  in  quantity;  for  they,  for  a  series  of 
years,  lived  as  sumptuously  as  three  pounds  of 
sticking  of  beef,  and  fourteen  hard  dumplings, 
would  allow  for  the  short  space  of  seven  days  ; 
and  this  supply,  for  years,  served  them  week 
after  week  ;  and  though,  during  hot  weather  in 
summer,  the  meat  might  urge  greater  expedi- 
tion, and  fresher  supplies,  yei  they  never  were 
observed  to  relinquish  their  daily  portion,  with 
one  cold  dumpling  and  a  draught  if  water. 
Half  a  bullock's  head,  with  occasionally  a  few 
stale  trotters,  made  broth  for  weeks ;  and  this 
was  sometimes  rendered  more  savoury  by  the 
addition  of  a  few  picked  bones  which  he  took 
up  in  his  walks,  and  of  which  he  daily  deprived 
the  dogs. 

Their  way  of  life  suffered  no  variation  ;  one 
uniform  application  of  the  principle  of  saving 
pervaded  every  action  of  their  lives,  and  was  the 
constant  object  of  every  point  of  view.  Their 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  89 

economical  arrangements  were  constantly  the 
same,  save  that,  now  and  then,  accident  might 
throw  something  in  their  way,  which  might 
spare  their  weekly  expenditure  for  three  pounds 
of  sticking.  Mr.  Dancer's  constant  and  strict 
attention,  in  his  walks  about  his  grounds,  some- 
times afforded  him  a  piece  of  delicious  viand, 
which  the  hand  of  more  dainty  and  more  extra- 
vagant appetite  had  thrown  aside;  not  so  much 
for  the  sake  of  variety,  as  for  the  nauseous  in- 
crease of  smell  it  had  acquired ;  which,  ren- 
dering it  unfit  for  its  former  owner,  seemed, 
when  picked  up,  to  endear  it  the  more  to  the 
parsimonious  finder,  who  immediately  calculated 
upon  the  saving  it  would  produce  to  this  thrifty 
pair  in  their  weekly  commons. 

An  uncommon  instance  of  this  kind  occurred 
one  summer's  morning,  which  for  many  weeks 
discontinued  the  inquiries  at  the  butcher's  shop 
after  the  allowance  of  neck-beef;  and,  while  it 
offered  a  change  in  their  mode  of  living,  gra- 
tified their  darling  avarice,  and  insatiable  pro- 
pensity to  save  money.  It  happened  one  morn- 
ing, as  Mr.  Dancer  was  taking  his  usual  walk 
upon  the  common,  to  pick  up  bones,  sticks, 
or  any  bit  of  rag  or  other  matter  that  might 
go  towards  repairing  his  clothes  or  his  house, 
that  he  found  a  sheep,  which  had  apparently 
died  from  natural  disease,  and  most  probably 
was  in  a  putrid  state.  This  was  a  rare  prize  for 
Mr.  Dancer;  and,  incredible  as  it  may  appear, 
he  took  it  up,  and  bore  it  home  on  his  shoul- 
der in  triumph  to  his  sister,  who  received  it  as 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

the  immediate  gift  of  heaven,  to  bless  their  poor 
souls  with  a  change  of  food ;  for  they  had  not  for 
years  tasted  any  thing  like  it ;  and  now  they  were 
likely  to  feast  for  a  great  length  of  time  uncon- 
trolled, and  at  no  expense  neither,  which  was 
the  most  delicate  sauce  that  could  accompany 
such  a  delicious  morsel  as  carrion  mutton  to  the 
appetite  of  a  miser. 

It  was  immediately  skinned,  and  cut  up,  and 
the  fat  carefully  laid  aside,  and  an  immense 
number  of  pies  made  of  it,  with  proper  season- 
ing; so  that  Mr.  Dancer's  house,  for  a  while, 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  g  i 

resembled  a  Perigord  pie-maker's  shop,  preparing 
to  pack  up  for  exportation.  On  these  they  feasted 
with  their  accustomed  frugality  for  several  weeks, 
until  the  whole  were  exhausted.  It  is  even  said 
that  Miss  Dancer  importuned  Mr.  Dancer  to  send 
two  handsome  ones  to  Mr.  James  Taylor,  the 
Borough  usurer. 

When  a  miser  finds  a  treasure,  he  is  sure  to 
lock  it  up.  Whether  Mr.  Dancer  thought  his 
sister  extravagant  in  the  indulgence  of  her  sto- 
mach at  the  beginning  of  the  pie-feast,  or  whether 
it  was  his  pleasure  at  the  thought  of  living  at  a 
small  expense,  or  at  the  change  of  diet  the  pies 
supplied,  he  became  unusually  careful  of  them  at 
last,  and  locked  them  up  in  one  of  his  strong 
coffers.  The  truth  of  this,  the  following  anecdote 
will  illustratively  supply.  The  neighhours  one 
morning  observing  Miss  Dancer  rather  lower 
spirited  than  usual,  kindly  inquired  into  the 
cause,  when  after  some  hesitation,  she  acknow- 
ledged, that  her  brother  Daniel  had  scolded 
her  for  eating  too  much  of  the  mutton  pies,  and 
told  her  she  was  very  extravagant,  which  she 
observed,  with  tears  in  her  eyes,  was  an  exceed- 
ing hard  case,  as  she  loved  to  save  as  well  as 
himself;  but  what  vexed  her  more,  he  had 
locked  them  up  in  his  strong  trunk,  in  order 
to  make  them  last  longer,  not  trusting  her  with 
the  key.  Miss  Dancer,  upon  the  whole,  seems 
to  have  been  a  very  proper  companion  ;or 
her  brother;  for  it  would  have  been  a  difficult 
case  to  have  matched  him  any  where  for  saving- 

92  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

This  couple  never  manifested  any  predilec- 
tion for  any  mode  of  worship.  Religion  did 
not  teach  how  to  save  money ;  so  that  whenever 
Mr.  Dancer  happened  to  stray  into  a  church  or 
meeting,  which  happened  sometimes,  in  his  long 
walks,  it  was  only  for  a  little  resc;  and  he  was 
sure  to  depart  before  the  collection  was  to  be 
made,  as  he  thought  the  gift  of  a  penny  was  part- 
ing with  the  seed  of  a  guinea,  which  might  by 
little  and  little  increase  to  an  hundred.  He 
might  indeed  be  deemed  a  Predestinarian  from 
the  following  circumstance ;  but,  as  Mr.  Locke 
observes,  "  Let  ever  so  much  probability  hang 
on  one  side,  and  a  covetous  man's  reasoning  and 
money  in  the  other,  it  is  easy  to  foresee  which 
will  outweigh."  It  was  during  the  last  illness, 
which  terminated  his  sister's  life,  that  he  was 
importuned  to  afford  her  some  medical  assistance  ; 
to  which  he  shrewdly  replied,  it  would  cost  him 
money ;  and,  besides,  continued  he,  ft  Why 
should  I  waste  my  money  in  wickedly  and  wan- 
tonly trying  to  oppose  the  will  of  God?  If  the 
girl  is  come  to  her  latter  end,  nothing  can  save 
her ;  and  all  I  may  do  will  only  tend  to  make 
me  lose  my  money;  and  she  may  as  well  die 
now  as  at  any  other  time.  If  I  thought  bleeding 
would  recover  her,  I  would  open  a  vein  myself; 
but  I  cannot  think  of  paying  for  physic  for  dying 
people."  The  dread  of  incurring  expence,  and 
parting  with  his  darling  coin,  was  insurmount- 
able. Mr.  Dancer's  reasoning  on  the  conduct  of 
Providence,  even  tended  towards  his  favourite 
penchant— SAVE  MONEY. 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  93 

Perhaps  never  having  felt  the  inconvenience 
of  ill  health,  or,  from  that  callosity  of  heart  ever 
attendant  upon  the  avaricious  mind,  he,  at  this 
period,  allowed  his  sister,  in  her  last  exigency, 
but  the  usual  portion  of  sticking  of  leef,  with 
the  cold  hard  dumpling;  to  which  he  added  the 
miser's  humanity,  u  If  you  don't  like  it,  why, 
go  without."  But  Mr.  Dancer's  deficiency  of 
care  was  very  amply  supplied  by  the  late  lady 
Tempest,  who  afforded  every  attention  and  kind- 
ness necessary  to  the  case  of  Miss  Dancer.  The 
latter  was  possessed  of  more  than  20001.  which 
she  intended  to  leave  Lady  Tempest  tor  her  ex- 
traordinary care  of  her  in  her  last  illness;  but 
she,  unfortunately  for  Lady  Tempest,  expired 
before  she  could  sign  a  will  in  her  favour  ;  and 
her  property  being  thus  left  intestate,  and  at  the 
disposition  of  the  law,  her  two  brothers  wished 
equally  to  divide  it  with  Mr.  Dancer ;  but  to 
this  proposal  he  would  not  agree,  and  obstinately 
refused  to  comply  with  any  proposal  they  could 
make,  insomuch  that,  after  a  long  while  perse- 
vering, and  obstinately  refusing  to  come  to  any 
agreement  of  participation,  a  law-suit  followed, 
and  Vir.  Dancer  recovered  10401.  of  his  sister's 
f on  tine,  as  the  regular  price  of  her  board  and 
lodging  for  thirty  years,  at  thirty  pounds  per 
annum,  and  one  hundred  pounds  for  the  last  two 
years ;  for  this  charge  he  declared  to  be  very 
reasonable,  as  duing  that  time  she  had  done  no- 
thing but  eat  and  lie  in  led  The  remainder  of 
her  fortune,  after  these  extraordinary  deductions, 
was  equally  divided  between  the  two  brothers  and 
Mr.  Dancer. 

94  L\fe  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

Mr.  Dancer's  calculations  for  saving  money 
were  systematical  and  regular;  nothing  escaped 
his  a'tention  to  that  sole  object  of  his  soul ;  and 
so  rigid  was  his  avarice,  that  he  rarely  washed 
his  face  or  hands,  because  soap  was  dear,  towels 
would  wear  out,  and,  besides,  when  dirty  were 
expensive  washing.  However,  to  obviate  the 
too  great  inconvenience  of  the  accumulation  of 
filth,  he  would,  once  in  two  or  three  weeks,  in 
summer  time,  repair  to  a  neighbouring  pond,  and 
there  wash  himself  with  sand,  and  afterwards  lie 
on  his  back  in  the  grass  to  dry  his  skin  in  the 

His  wardrobe  might  very  justly  boast  more 
sorts  and  colours,  and  more  substances,  than 
the  paraphernalia  of  a  strolling  company  of 
players.  His  stockings  were  so  much  darned, 
that  it  was  difficult  to  discern  what  they  were 
for  patches  ;  for  none  of  the  original  could  ever 
be  discovered;  and  in  dirty  01  cold  weather, 
they  were  strongly  fortified  with  ropes  of 
twisted  hay,  for  which  he  had  a  happy  talent. 
This  contrivance  served  him  for  boots;  and 
when  he  declined  them,  he  could  untwist  them, 
and  they  served  to  increase  the  bulk  of  his 

For  many  years  it  was  his  opinion  that  every 
man  ought  to  be  his  own  cobler;  and  for  this 
employ  he  had  a  lucky  genius,  which  he  indulg- 
ed so  far  as  to  keep  by  him  the  most  necessary 
tools  for  mending  shoes;  but  these,  it  must 
impartially  be  observed,  cost  him  nothing  ;  for 
he  had  borrewed  one  at  a  time  from  different 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  95 

persons  until  he  had  possessed  himself  of  a  com- 
plete set,  and  with  these  he  mended  nis  own 
shoes  so  admirably,  that  what  he  wore,  by  the 
frequent  jobs  and  coverings  they  had  received 
from  his  thrifty  hands,  had  become  so  ponderous, 
that  running  a  race  in  them  would  have  been 
impracticable;  and,  besides,  their  dimensions 
were  so  much  enlarged,  that  they  resembled  hog- 
troughs  more  than  shoes.  To  keep  these  upon 
his  feet,  he  took  several  yards  of  cord,  which  he 
twisted  round  his  ancles  in  the  manner  the  an- 
cient Romans  wore  their  sandals. 

Linen  was  a  luxury  to  which,  notwithstand- 
ing his  avaricious  disposition,  he  was  not  quite 
a  stranger ;  for  at  an  early  period  of  his  saving 
career,  he  used  to  buy  two  shirts  annually ;  but 
for  some  years  previous  to  his  death,  he  never 
allowed  himself  more  than  one,  for  which  he 
would  constantly  bestow  at  some  old  clothes 
shop  two  shillings  and  sixpence  ;  and  was  never 
but  once  known  to  go  to  so  handsome  a  price 
as  three  shillings.  After  it  had  got  into  his 
possession,  it  never  underwent  the  necessary 
operation  either  of  washing  or  mending ;  upon 
his  back  it  was  doomed  to  perpetual  slavery 
until  it  fell  off  in  rags.  Hence  it  cannot  be 
doubted,  nor  will  it  surprise  the  reader  to  be 
told,  that,  notwithstanding  Mr.  Dancer's  pecu- 
liarity of  disposition  induced  him  to  shun  the 
world,  he  never  was  without  a  numerous  retinue 
about  him,  whose  lively  spirit,  and  attachment 
to  his  person,  made  his  acquaintance,  as  well 
as  his  neighbours,  extremely  cautious  of  approach- 
ing him. 

96  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

After  his  sister's  death,  a  pair  of  sheets,  as 
black  as  soot  bags,  were  discovered  upon  the 
bed  ;  but  these  he  would  never  suffer  to  be  re- 
moved ;  and  when  they  were  worn  out,  were 
never  replaced ;  so  that  after  that  time  he  relin- 
quished the  use  of  linen  to  sleep  in. 

.  He  would  not  allow  any  one  to  make  his  bed, 
though  Lady  Tempest  often  solicited  him  to 
permit  it ;  and  for  many  years  his  room  was 
never  swept.  Towards  the  time  of  his  death, 
it  was  observed  to  be  filled  with  sticks,  which 
he  had  stolen  out  of  the  different  hedges.  A 
considerable  quantity  of  odd  shapen  gravel  stones 
•were  also  found  in  a  bag,  but  for  what  use  these 
were  intended  is  unknown. 

The  report  of  his  riches,  and  the  idea  of  its 
concealment  about  the  house,  once  brought  a 
troop  of  house-breakers,  who  very  easily  entered, 
and,  without  any  search-warrant,  rummaged 
every  corner  of  the  place ;  but  although  this 
domiciliary  visit  cost  the  lives  of  some  of  them, 
they  rook  away  but  little  property.  Old  Dan- 
cer had  been  long  on  his  guard ;  and  his  mode 
of  hiding  was  so  peculiar  to  himself,  that  the 
grand  object  of  the  thieves  was  never  disco- 
verable by  them.  Mr.  Dancer  concealed  his 
treasure  where  no  one  could  ever  think  of  seek- 
ing for  it.  Bank  notes  were  usually  deposited 
with  the  spiders;  they  were  hid  amongst  the 
cobwebs  in  the  cow-house;  and  guineas  in 
holes  in  the  chimney,  and  about  the  fire-place, 
covered  with  soot  and  ashes.  Soon  after  the 
robbery,  when  the  thieves  were  apprehended, 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  97 

and  to  be  tried,  it  being  very  necessary  that  Mr. 
Dancer  should  attend  the  trial,  Lady  Tempest 
requested  that  in  order  to  appear  a  little  decent, 
he  would  change  his  shirt,  and  she  would  lend 
him  a  clean  one.  "No,  no,"  he  replied,  "it 
is  not  necessary.  The  shirt  I  have  on  is  quite 
new;  I  bought  it  only  three  weeks  ago,  and  then 
it  was  clean.3' 

His  extreme  love  of  money  overcame  every 
other  consideration  ;  and  to  this  idol,  Mammon, 
he  even  sacrificed  brotherly  affection.  From  the 
evident  want  of  this  principle,  and  to  his  at- 
tachment to  gain,  may  be  accounted  his  strange 
behaviour,  as  before  related,  to  his  sister  at  her 
latter  end.  But  in  one  singular  instance,  and 
to  the  canine  species  too,  he  seemed,  in  some 
measure,  to  forego  his  favourite  idea  of  saving. 
This  was  a  dog,  of  which  he  was  extremely 
fond,  and  which  he  called  by  the  familiar  appel- 
lation of,  Bob  my  child.  His  treatment  of  this 
animal  affords  an  instance  of  that  inconsistency 
of  human  acting,  which  philosophy  seeks  in  vain 
to  account  for. 

While  his  self-denial  was  so  severe  that  he 
denied  himself  a  penny  loaf  a  day,  and  existed 
entirely  upon  Lady  Tempest's  pot  liquor  and 
scraps  from  her  kitchen,  of  which  he  would 
cram  so  greedily,  that  he  was  frequently  under 
the  necessity  of  rolling  himself  upcwi  the  floor 
before  he  could  go  to  sleep,  he  allowed  this  dog, 
he  called  Bob,  a  pint  of  milk  daily ;  and  this  he 
paid  for  as  it  was  constantly  supplied  by  a  neigh- 

98  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer, 

bouring   farmer,    when   he  had  parted  with   his 

farming  stock,  and  had  not  one  cow  left. 

Once  upon  a  time  a  complaint  being  made  to 
him  that  his  dog  Bob  had  worried  some  of  his 
neighbour's  sheep,  he  took  the  dog  to  a  farrier's 
shop,  and  had  all  his  teeth  filed  down. 

For  this  barbarous  action  he  never  gave  any 
reason;  possibly  it  might  be  to  prevent  the  like 
again ;  as  he  might  shrewdly  guess,  that  any  far- 
ther damage  from  his  dog's  mischievous  manner 
might  bring  expenses  upon  him,  as  he  was  cer- 
tainly liable  to  be  compelled  to  pay  them. 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  99 

His  sister  being  dead,  and  finding  himself 
lonesome,  he  hired  a  man  for  his  companion  ; 
and  in  his  choice  he  shewed  much  discernment ; 
for  his  man  Griffiths  was  a  proper  counterpart 
of  himself— both  miserable  alike.  When  they 
went  out,  they  took  different  roads,  though  both 
followed  the  same  occupation ;  only  that  the 
servant  indulged  more  taste  for  strong  beer;  a 
liquor  which  Mr.  Dancer  carefully  avoided,  as 
costing  money ;  but  Griffiths  would  tipple  a  lit- 
tle, which  was  the  cause  of  much  altercation  at 
night  when  these  saving  souls  met.  However, 
Griffiths  generally  came  loaded  with  bones, 
some  of  which  having  some  fragments  of  flesh 
on,  served  to  heighten  their  repast,  and  quieted 
the  master's  impending  storm.  This  fellow  had, 
by  as  severe  parsimony  as  that  exercised  by  Mr. 
Dancer,  contrived  to  accumulate  5001.  out  of 
wages  which  had  never  exceeded  101.  per  annum. 
At  the  time  he  lived  with  Mr.  Dancer,  he  was 
upwards  of  sixty,  and  hired  himself  to  him  for 
eighteen  pence  a  week.  Every  trait  of  so  sin- 
gular a  character  is  interesting.  Mr.  Dancer 
having  occasion  to  come  to  London  one  day  for 
the  purpose  of  investing  two  thousand  pounds 
in  the  funds,  a  gentleman,  who  did  not  know 
him,  met  him  near  the  Royal  Exchange,  and 
mistaking  him  for  a  beggar,  charitably  slipped 
a  penny  into  his  hands.  Jemmy  Taylor,  the 
Borough  usurer,  who  stood  by,  was  a  little  sur- 
prised; but  Mr.  Dancer  seemed  to  understand 
the  gentleman  very  well ;  and  observing  to  Tay- 
lor, every  little  helps,  he  pocketed  the  half- pence,, 
I  2 

100  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

and  walked  on.  Perhaps  he  might  consider 
this  penny  as  the  seed  of  a  pound,  to  which  it 
might  attain  by  gentle  gradations  ;  and  as  the 
human  mind  is  always  pleased  with  prospects  of 
what  it  wishes,  Mr.  Dancer  might  contemplate 
this  penny  multiplying  itself  progressively,  until 
it  arrived  at  thousands;  tor,  as  Lord  Chesterfield 
observes,  take  care  of  the  pence,  and  the  pounds 
wiil  take  care  of  themselvts.  In  fact,  the  truth 
is,  that  wealth  is  at  first  acquired  by  very  minute 
particles:  small  sums  are  the  semina  of  great 
ones,  and  may  very  aptly  be  compared  to  seconds 
of  time,  which  geneiate  years,  centuries,  and 
even  eternity  itself. 

Lady  Tempest  was  the  only  person  who  had 
any  influence  over  this  unfortunate  miser;  and 
though  she  knew  his  fortune  was  at  iasi  to  De- 
volve to  her  and  Captain  Holmes,  yet  she,  with 
that  gentleman,  with  the  utmost  solicitude,  em- 
ployed every  contrivance  to  make  him  partake 
of  those  conveniences  and  indulgences,  which 
his  fortune  could  supply,  and  which  his  advanc- 
ed years  required;  but  ail  their  entreaties  were 
without  effect.  "  Where  was  he  to  get  the  mo- 
ney? How  could  he  afford  it?  If  it  was  not  for 
some  chariiuble  assistance,  how  could  he  live  ?" 
One  day,  however,  this  lady,  with  a  greui  deal 
of  persuasion,  prevailed  upon  him  to  purchase 
a  hat,  which  he  did  at  last,  of  a  Jew,  to?  a  shil- 
ling, having  worn  the  one  he  then  possessed  up- 
wards of  fourteen  years;  but  yet  it  was  too 
good  in  his  eye  to  throw  away.  When  Lady 
Tempest  visited  him  the  next  time,  she,  to  her 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  101 

great  astonishment,  perceived  him  still  with  his 
old  hat  on.  On  importuning  him  for  the  rea- 
son, he  at  last  told  her,  that,  after  much  solici- 
tation, he  had  prevailed  on  his  OLD  MA\T  GRIF- 
FITHS to  give  him  SIXPENCE  protit  upon  the 
hat  he  had  purchased,  by  her  desire,  of  the  Jew, 
a  few  days  before. 

To  those  who  cannot  exist  without  every 
convetiiency  in  life,  and  even  without  every 
artificial  appendage  to  luxury,  let  them  turn  to 
this  old  miser,  worth  more  than  THREE  THOU- 
SAND pounds  per  annum,  who,  for  the  sake  of 
making  that  sum  scill  more,  foregoes  even  that 
superlative  comfort,  a  fire  in  winter  time!  Ye 
spendthrifts,  read  -.hi>  anecdote  and  blush. 

Mr.  Dancer  had  arrived  at  his  7&th  year  be- 
fore he  felt  any  serious  cause  of  complaint  to 
call  in  a  d  )ctor.  His  antipathy  to  the  medical 
tribe  has  been  already  mentioned  ;  therefore  it 
was  in  vain  to  advise  him  to  take  any  medicine, 
even  when  there  was  a  necessity  for  it. 

During  the  illness  which  terminated  this  mi- 
serable man's  misspent  life,  in  the  78th  year  of 
his  age,  in  the  month  of  October  1/94,  Lady 
Tempest  accidentally  called  upon  him,  and  found 
him  lying  in  an  old  sack,  which  came  up  to  his 
chin,  and  his  head  wrapped  up  in  pieces  of  the 
same  materials  as  big  as  a  bee-hive.  On  her 
remonstrating  against  the  impropriety  of  such, 
a  situation,  he  observed,  that  being  a  very  poor 
man,  he  could  not  afford  better;  and  having 
come  into  the  world  without  a  shirt,  he  was  de- 
termined to  go  out  in  the  same  manner. 

102  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

His  opinion  of  the  professors  of  physic  was 
rather  singular,  and  seemed  to  border  upon  pre- 
destination. To  use  his  own  language,  the  me- 
dical linkers  were  all  a  set  of  rogues;  who, 
while  they  patched  up  one  hole,  always  contriv- 
ed to  make  ten,  for  a  better  job ;  but  he  allowed 
of  the  utility  of  surgery  in  repairing  accidental 

His  prejudice  against  the  whole  tribe  of  law- 
yers was  determined  in  the  extreme.  Indeed, 
his  inveteracy  was  the  result  of  strongly  feeling 
the  effects  of  their  chicanery;  and  his  aversion 
to  this  class  of  men  was  go  great,  that  he  would 
even  forego  his  own  interest  to  gratify  his  re- 
sentment, as  the  following  anecdote  will  prove. 

Having,  as  was  usually  his  half  yearly  custom, 
agreed  with  an  old  clothes- wom^n  for  a  shirt  for 
half  a  crown,  as  he  thought,  the  dealer  called  at 
his  house,  and  left  him  one  worth  three-  shil- 
lings; but  for  which  he  refused  to  pay  any 
more  than  his  original  agreement  of  2s.  6d. 
Notwithstanding  the  party  urged  the  goodness 
and  the  fineness  of  the  article,  Mr.  Dancer  was 
impenetrable;  and  no  more  than  the  half-crown 
would  he  pay  ;  which  the  woman  as  perempto- 
rily refusing,  at  last  applied  to  the  court  of  Re- 
quests of  the  district,  to  which  he  was  obliged 
to  repair,  although  it  cost  him  fivepence  on  the 
journey  for  bread  and  cheese,  and  the  cost  of 
hearing,  &c.  in  all  upwards  of  four  shillings 
and  sixpence.  This  had  such  an  effect  on  Mr. 
Dancer's  mind,  that  he  ever  afterwards  held  the 
lawyers  in  abhorrence ;  for  to  give,  or  pay,  were 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  103 

Hot  to  be  found  in  his  vocabulary.  Addition  and 
multiplication  were  his  favourite  rules,  and  usury 
was  the  foundation  of  his  good  deeds. 

Though  Mr-  Dancer,  by  his  spirit  of  covetous- 
ness,  debased  himself  in  this  sordid  manner,  yet 
he  kept  a  mare,  for  which  he  showed  a  great  par- 
tiality ;  but  he  never  allowed  her  more  than  two 
shoes  at  one  time,  deeming  it  an  unnecessary 
expense  to  shoe  the  hind  feet  of  the  animal  ;  and 
he  used  to  say,  it  was  more  pleasant  for  a  horse 
to  feel  the  naked  grass,  than  to  be  confined  in 
unnatural  shoes. 

Mr.  Dancer  was  the  most  perfect  picture  of 
human  penury  that  perhaps  ever  existed,  and  the 
most  singular  character  that  ever  lived;  his  habits 
were  those  of  an  hermit ,  and  his  extreme  avarice 
rendered  him  as  abstemious  as  any  ascetic  of  the 

In  this  manner  lived,  and  in  this  situation  died, 
Daniel  Dancer,  Esquire,  a  monumental  proof  to 
the  world,  that  the  advantages  of  fortune,  unless 
properly  directed,  will  not  make  their  possessor 
happy.  Lady  Tempest,  it  ought  to  be  observed 
here,  had  but  a  very  short  enjoyment  of  the  great 
accession  of  wealth  she  acquired  by  this  miser's 
death  ;  for  she  contracted  an  illness  during  her 
attendance  upon  Mr.  Dancer's  last  hours,  that  in 
a  few  months  closed  the  period  of  her  own  life, 
which  happened  in  January,  1795. 

The  house,  or  rather  the  heap  of  ruins,  in 
which  Mr.  Dancer  lived,  and  which,  at  his  death, 
devolved  to  the  right  of  Captain  Holmes,  was  a 
most  miserable  decayed  building,  frightful  and 

104  Life  of  Mr.  Dancer. 

terrific  in  its  outside  appearance ;  for  it  had  not 
been  repaired  for  more  than  half  a  century.  But 
though  poor  in  external  appearance,  the  ruinous 
fabric  was  very  rich  in  the  interior.  It  took 
many  weeks  to  explore  its  whole  contents ;  and 
Captain  Holmes  and  Lady  Tempest  found  it  a 
very  agreeoble  task  to  dive  into  the  miser's  se- 
crets. One  of  the  late  Mr.  Dancer's  richest 
scrutoires  was  found  to  be  a  duiiij-heap  in  the 
cow-house;  a  sum  little  short  of  c£2500  was 
contained  in  this  rich  piece  of  manure  ;  and  in 
an  old  jacket,  carefully  tied,  and  strongly  nailed 
down  to  the  manger,  in  bank-notes  and  gold»  five 
hundred  pounds  more. 

Several  large  bowls,  filled  with  guineas,  half- 
guineas,  and  quantities  of  silver,  were  discovered, 
at  different  times,  in  searching  the  corners  of  the 
house ;  and  various  parcels  of  bank-notes  stuffed 
under  the  covers  of  old  chairs  and  cushions.  In 
the  stable  the  Captain  found  some  jugs  of  dol- 
lars and  shillings.  It  was  observable,  that  Mr. 
Dancer  used  to  visit  this  place  in  the  dead  of  the 
night;  but  for  what  purpose  even  old  Griffiths  him- 
self could  not  guess ;  but  it  is  supposed,  it  was  to  rob 
one  jug  to  add  to  a  bowl  which  he  had  buried, 
and  was  nearly  full,  when  taken  up  from  under 
one  of  the  hearth  tiles. 

The  chimney  was  not  left  unsearched,  and 
paid  very  well  for  the  trouble ;  for  in  nineteen 
different  holes,  all  filled  with  soot,  were  found 
various  sums  of  money,  amounting  together  to 
more  than  2001.  Bank-notes  to  the  value  of  6001. 
were  found  doubled  up  in  the  bottom  of  an  old 

Life  of  Mr.  Dancer.  105 

tea-pot.  Over  these  was  a  bit  of  paper,  whim- 
sically inscribed,  "  Not  to  be  too  hastily  looked 

Mr.  Dancer's  principal  acquaintance,  and  the 
most  congenial  companion  of  his  soul,  was  the 
penurious  Jemmy  Taylor,  of  the  Borough  of 
Southwark.  This  genius  became  acquainted  with 
him  accidentally  at  the  Stock  Exchange,  where 
they  chanced  to  meet  to  transact  some  money 
affairs:  and  they  often  visited  each  other  after* 
wards;  for  it  was  a  ceitain  satisfaction  to  each. 
to  edify  by  the  other's  experience.  No  doXb*" 
their  conversation  ran  much  upon  refinements  in 
hard  living ;  for  Jemmy  was  as  rigid  an  ascetic 
as  tne  ether,  though  he  did  not  go  quite  in  so 
beggarly  a  style. 




Recently  published  by  W.  Darton,  jun.  58, 
Holborn  Hill. 

LECTURES  AT  MY  SCHOOL;  or,  Play  Ground 
Conversations  By  a  Friend  to  Youth-  Illustrated 
\viih  Fifty  elegant  Engravings.  Price  2s.  6d.  half- 

LAND,  as  exemplified  in  the  History  of  Harry  John, 
son  and  Dick  Hobson.  By.  J.  CAREY,  LL  D.  2s.  6d. 

THE  SCRIPTURE  ALPHABET,  by  a  Parent, 
for  his  Children  ;  illustrated  with  Twenty- seven  En- 
gravings from  Scripture.  Price  One  Shilling. 

MY  REAL  FRIEND  ;  or  Incidents  in  Life,  found- 
ed on  Truth.  With  several  Copper-plates.  Price  One 

THE  ADVENTURES  of  the  Celebrated  little 
THOMAS  DELLOW,  who  was  stolen  from  his  Pa- 
rents  on  the  18th  of  November,  1811,  and  restored 
to  them  on  the  3d  of  January,  1812.  Illustrated  by 
Eight  Characteristic  Engravings.  Price  One  Shilling. 

LONDON  ;  a  Descriptive  Poem.  Second  Edition, 
corrected  and  illustrated  with  elegant  Views  on  Cop. 
per-platts.  Price  One  Shilling. 

GRATEFUL  TRIBUTES;  or,  Recollections  of 
Infancy.  By  MARY  BELSON,  Author  of  Industry 
and  Idlrnt-!*,  &c.  Price,  with  Plates,  Eighteen-pence; 
or  without  Plates,  Sixpence. 

containing  Common  Things  necessary  to  be  known  at 
an  Earl>  Age.  By  the  Rev.  DAYID  BLAIR.  Price 

Improved  Books  for  Children.' 

an  Easy  Vocabulary  of  Twelve  Hundred  Common 
Words  for  the  Use  of  Children.  By  the  ABBE  BOSSUT. 
Price  Nine. pence. 

A  TOUR  THROUGH  ENGLAND,  described  in 
a  Series  of  Letters  from  a  Young  Gentleman  to  his 
Sister.  With  Copper.plates.  Third  Edition,  revised, 
price  Three  Shillings 

A  VISIT  TO  LONDON,  containing  a  Description 
of  the  principal  Curiosities  in  the  British  Metropolis. 
With  Six  Copper-plates.  Price  Two  Shillings  and 

A  VISIT  TO  A  FARM  HOUSE;  or,  an  Intro- 
duction to  various  Subjects  connected  with  Rural 
Economy.  Embellished  with  beautiful  Plates.  Price 
Two  Shillings  and  Sixpence. 

MARY  AND  HER  CAT,  a  Tale  for  good  Chil- 
dren, chiefly  in  Words  of  Two  Syllables.  Price  One 

JUVENILE  PLUTARCH,  containing  accounts  of 
the  Lives  of  Celebrated  Children,  and  of  the  Infancy 
of  Persons  who  have  been  illustrious*  for  their  Virtues 
or  Talents.  Wiih  Plates.  Two  vols.  price  5s. 

an  Explanation  of  the  Wisdom  of  the  Creator,  in  ob- 
jects comparatively  minute,  adapted  to  the  Under- 
standing of  Young  Persons,  illustrated  with  Five  large 
Copper-plates.  Price  Four  Shillings  and  Sixpence. 

a  Display  of  the  Starry  Heavens  and  of  the  System  of 
the  Universe  :  calculated  to  promote  and  simplify  the 
Study  of  Astronomy.  With  Fourteen  Plates.  Price 
Six  Shillings. 

THE  SPHINX;  or,  Allegorical  Lozenges.  By  a 
Descendant  of  Cleobulina,  an  ancient  Conposer  of 
Bnigmas,  &c.  Price  9d» 

Improved  Booh  for  Children. 

vations on  the  Tempers,  Manners,  and  Foibl<3  of  va- 
rious Young  Persons;  interspersed  with  such  lively 
Matter,  as,  it  is  presumed,  will  amuse  as  well  as  in- 
strutt  By  ARABELLA  ARGUS.  2  Vols.  12mo, 
Price  Four  Shillings  and  Sixpence  each  Vol.  bound. 

THE  WONDERS  OF  THE  HORSE;  recorded 
in  Anecdotes,  and  interspersed  with  Poetry.  By  JO- 
SEPH TAYLOR,  Author  of  "  Tales  of  the  Robin." 
Price  2s.  6d.  half  bound, 

,  THE  MICE  AND  THEIR  PIC  NIC  ;  an  allego- 
rical Tale,  representing  the  Manners  and  Customs  of 
the  present  age  ; — in  Contentment— a  Fashionable  Vi- 
sitor—High Breeding— the  Effects  of  Fashion— the  Epi- 
cure— an  Invitation — a  Consultation  and  Journey — a 
Season  in  London — Etiquette,  &c.  Price  One  Shilling 
coloured  Plates,  or  Sixpence  plain. 

DIX'S  JUVENILE  ATLAS,  containing  Forty, 
four  Maps,  with  plain  directions  for  copying  them  ; 
designed  for  Junior  Classes,  4to.  half  bound.  Price 
10s  6d.  plain,  or  14s.  full  coloured. 

translated  from  the  French  of  the  ABBE  FENELON, 
afterwards  Archbishop  of  Cambray.  12mo.  extra 
boaJils,  price  2s.  6d.  with  a  beautitul  Frontispiece. 

OF  A  MORNING  ;  intended  to  interest  and  instruct 
the  Minds  of  Youth  By  ONESIPHORUS  FRANKLEY. 
Price  Eighteen. pent*. 

INDUSTRY  AN^  IDLENESS  ;  a  Tale  for  Little 
Girls,  in  \\ords  not  exceeding  two  syllables.  Price  Is. 

SIMPLE  TRU'itib,  in  Verse;  intended  for  the 
Amusement  and  Instruction  of  Children;  price  Is.  6d. 

THE  ORPHAN  BOY;  or,  a  Journey  to  Bath. 
Founded  on  Fact.  By  MARY  BELSON.  Price  2s,  half